Addressing Discussion Posting Procrastination

Submitted by Peter Turner on

Discussions are a prime way to enrich online and hybrid classes as well as engage students. In my spring 2014 classes, many of my students waited until the last 24 hours to post their initial answer to the Discussion prompt. This procrastination averaged 75% of the students. Since I require of my students a three response minimum to other students’ posts, there was often not enough time for meaningful exchanges. Despite my urgings, this procrastination continued. A colleague shared that they had two time requirements for Discussions: the first time for the initial post (three days prior to the final deadline); and the second time where the responses to their classmates’ posting was due. In fall 2014 I initiated this requirement in my online and hybrid courses, as well as a rubric (attached) that specifically addressed these deadlines. The results have been very satisfactory. This semester, 85% of my students now meet both deadlines. There are no complaints of not enough  time to respond, and more importantly, the depth of the Discussion conversations has greatly improved. (Also attached is the announcement I initially post to remind students of timelines.)

Completed Full Cycle
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discussion-rubrics.docx 13.85 KB
discussion-announcement.docx 53.51 KB
Average: 4.4 (5 votes)


Anil Kapoor Fri, 11/07/2014 - 3:56pm

Wow this is a great idea. It could really improve the quality of the posts in my class as well. Thanks Pete

Heather Muns Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:44pm

We are always trying to find ways to get our students to actively participate--especially when it comes to discussion boards.  One suggestion I have is to make the due date in canvas the earlier date.  This would ensure that the post was done on time and any comments added after the fact will not affect the due date or make it late.  

Becky Baranowski Wed, 11/12/2014 - 7:00pm

Procrastination is a huge problem, so I really like the deadlines you created to help keep them on track.  

Anastasia Amabisca Tue, 01/13/2015 - 10:44am

This is a great idea.  I've struggled with this issue too in my ENG 101 as students often wait until the very last day of the discussion to post and respond, which never results in deep discussion which is the intent.  I will try this strategy this semester.

Rachel Holmes Tue, 01/13/2015 - 10:53am

I struggle with this same issue in my online courses and find that many students need this type of structure in order to avoid procrastination.   Great idea! I'll have to try using this new deadline format in my own classes.

Jennifer Copeland Sat, 02/21/2015 - 10:49am

Great suggestion. Glad that I came across this as I've noticed this same procrastination. I will be modifying and using this format next semester!

Thank you!