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Monday, March 08, 2010

A HW policy- MORAL due date.

This semester I am using the following HW policy.
HW is due on Tuesday. However, your dog died! Hence you get an extension to Thursday. That is, for all people in the class I assume you have a quasi-legit reason to ask for an extension to Thursday. Hence you can hand it in Thursday for full credit. However, if you want an extension past that you will not get it since I already gave you an extension to Thursday. (There may be some severe exceptions which will have to be documented.)
  1. This will save alot of time in terms of students asking permission to hand it in late since I will say I already have you an extension and you are asking for another one?
  2. Some students will get into the habit of handing it in Thursday. This is okay so long as they do not ask for an extension past that.
  3. Clyde tells me that this is really a cheat- the HW really is due Thursday. I may have a higher moral ground when telling them they can't hand it in later than Thursday, but they will still feel that they deserve an extension if their dog dies on Wednesday. My response: they do not.
  4. I do make sure that they have enough knowledge to do the HW by Tuesday.
  5. I am teaching one Junior-Senior class and one honors-class so these are already pretty good students. They (I hope) know what I mean when I say that they cannot ask for an extension past Thursday. Also they will likely not need them. I have not tried this in a Freshman class. I would like to but they are usually co-taught and large so it would be harder to manage.

25 comments:

  1. "Hand in your homework on Tuesday in case your dog dies on Wednesday."

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  2. I had a professor who always replied to anyone asking for an extension "I cannot give you an extension; Other have also requested and I denied, therefore I would be unfair to the rest". He did not move the deadline even if your dog died. And that is a valuable lesson because people get used to working with deadlines, instead of the classic "Please give me the deadline; Out there it is work and I will manage to meet the deadline".

    My dog is always dead a day before the deadline :)

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  3. I announce that I worked out when each project should be due and then added two days to that so everyone already has an extension. It tends not to stand in the way of the slackers who start the day it is due. I tend to not care when they whine. They tend to write bad things on my evaluations.

    People say I should treat my students as if they are adults. I claim that I am doing this by enforcing deadlines and standards and requirements.

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  4. Why not just have a deadline and then a penalty function after that?
    Each day late you lose 20%, and after 2 days, post the solutions and accept nothing after the solution is posted.

    One semester I gave out
    12 Hws and told them that the top 10 would count and took no late HWs. This way they could have their dog die and still have room for other such contingencies....

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  5. I had a spate of bad luck a few years back, when I decided it would be good to take some courses to stay current, when what next--either a plane crashed and I was in the search party, or three people close to me died in two months, or my mentor dropped dead, my mother had a stroke and had to go into a nursing home, a college roommate died of cancer, my sister died of cancer, a friend died of a brain tumor... in all, about a dozen people went to the next world in a few short years, and I stayed with a number of them in their last moments. I put the courses on hold, as I wondered if God was trying to tell me something.

    Meanwhile I do tell people, the reason for getting things done ahead of time is that life can be quite unpredictable and disruptive of the best laid plans, so it really is better to think like a Boy Scout and Be Prepared.

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  6. I do the whole 10% off for each day late thing and it seems to work ok.

    But I'm really tempted to make it a hard deadline - don't know if I would have the guts to enforce it.

    This works better if you give numerous homeworks (say weekly) so each hw isn't that big of a deal.

    When in doubt it is better to err on the side of strictness - it just works better for everyone.

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  7. 1) I assign HW EVERY week except
    the week of the midterm.

    2) I like to post solutions on the
    thursday after all the HW really should have been turned in. Dont always do this but usually do.

    bill g.

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  8. I took a course in which the professor looked at late homeworks only if they would affect the final grade and then only if they were 2-3 in number over the course of the semester.

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  9. Accepting delays means delaying posting solutions and delaying grading. This hurts everybody. I think the top ten of twelve idea is best.

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  10. As previous Anonymous, I like the idea of taking into account the top (n-m) grades among the n HWs.

    And when I have a discussion with students to know what they prefer I do, the reasonable answers (that is different from "no HW", "we can be late whenever we want", ...) may be summarized by "Give us a clear rule so that we exactly know how it works". I think there is nothing worst than saying "no late HW", and then accepting one or two late HWs, and then get bored and not accepting any late HW anymore.

    I tested several solutions and as soon as the rule is clear, the students accept it. (Maybe they are Turing Machines: Give them a correct algorithm, and they are happy!)

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  11. My policy is the following, and it has worked well: Every student gets 5 late days for the whole semester. No questions asked, no reason needs to be given. They can spread them out over the homeworks any way they want - use it all on one, submit 5 HWs one day late each, etc.

    If anyone exceeds these 5 late days total, they lose 20% of the HW score per late day over. And I never accept any homework more than 5 days late.

    My experience teaching is that any policy works well, so long as you set it very clearly ahead of time, and don't deviate from it.

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  12. I usually have weekly or bi-weekly assignments due in class. My policy is that any extension must be asked for/agreed on in advance of the day it is due. I grant virtually every extension request since this almost invariably produces legit requests. Any extension must be handed in prior to the next class (where solutions are handed out) with exact time depending on the request.

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  13. There is a reason they call it a deadline, because many dogs usually die when the (time)line is approaching ;)

    It looks like some students ask for lifelines, which makes sense otherwise how could they survive deadlines without lifelines ;)

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  14. I prefer to have an extra assignment, thus the full mark will be 120/100, this way if a student misses an assignment, he can hand in the extra one and still get a good mark. Deadlines are firm, unless there is something happens which is out of their control.
    My experience is that most students are happy with it, I am happy with it, and we have much less stress.

    I think we have to remind ourselves that we should expect something from our students while we do not expect from ourselves. If we are all the time late for conference submissions and ... expecting students with much less experience to do what we can't seems unreasonable to me.

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  15. please miss a conference submission deadline of a reputable conference and see if you get an extension.

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  16. No late anything, for any reason, ever. But if your dog dies, I'll just forgive that homework; your other homeworks will count more toward your final grade. And you still have to know the stuff for the exams, of course.

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  17. If you have the guts, make all homework optional and watch half the class fail the first time you do it.

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  18. I suspect that I have some students who would be likely to get a dog from the pound and let it loose in traffic if they thought it would get an extension.

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  19. I had a class as an ugrad where there
    were 12 OPTIONAL HWs and a final.
    I still recall the curve:
    7 A's, 6 B's, 7 F's.

    (I got an A).

    bill g.

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  20. Did you do all your homework to get an A?

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  21. I don't care if they hand in late or cheat. That gives them 10% of the final grade. If they can pass the exam while cheating on HW or not doing it on time, good for them. HW is a service for the student, not a punishment.

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  22. YES- I did all of the HW, aced the Final,
    and got an A in the class.

    bill g.

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  23. @Anon 12: What you say is true... But there are often (always?) some deadline extensions for the conference.

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  24. Sorry, I meant "@Anon 15" in the previous comment!

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  25. If it were a TCS class, I am sure there were students who got A without doing their homework.

    I have never observed the reverse though. People who do homework sincerely usually do not get F.

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