Scheduling due dates in an online BIO class, a comparison between two approaches.

Submitted by Neil Raymond on
What is the Purpose of the Assessment?

To determine how scheduling of due dates for assignments in an 8 week online biology course effects the engagement and success of students in the class.

Describe the necessity for this assessment

Does having daily dues dates help promote student success or does allowing them to complete the work on a more flexible schedule lead to better performance in the class?

Describe how the practice will be implemented

During the Summer semester due dates for assignments were placed throughout the week to try and keep students from falling behind, but this led to frequent late submissions.  Due dates for the Fall semester were changed to the end of the week to give students more flexibility in completing assignments on their schedule, but also affords the possibility for students to complete all weekly assignments at the last minute without adequately preparing. 

Interpret, compare, and describe the results

Missed assignments, final grades, and completion rates for 2 SUM20 sections with daily due dates were compared to 3 F20 BIO202 sections with end of the week due dates to see which method produced more student sucess.  The F20 sections were more sucessful, but missed more assignments.  Once accounting for a few outlier students who missed a disproportionate number of assignments, the timing of due dates doesn’t effect student’s ability to complete assignments.

After analyzing, and reflecting on the outcome, what are the next steps?

The next steps are to implement end of the week due dates for all assignments in the BIO 202 course master along with a recommended schedule to complete assignments so that students do not fall behind. Additonally, we can institute a consistent late penalty policy across all sections on BIO202 at EMCC which will also generate more equality in the grading policy as every student will get the same number of extensions, not just the ones who ask.


Please see the attached file for complete data and summary of interpretations.

Completed Full Cycle
Course Number
BIO 202
Average: 3.6 (7 votes)


Catherine Cochran Sun, 04/25/2021 - 2:55pm

Hi Neil,

Thank you for submitting a CATS!  I enjoyed reading your CATS.  Personally, I have struggled with assignment due dates, and I have due dates at the end of the week now too.  Like you, I like the flexibility students have to complete the assignments.  I like your idea about adding a "suggested" schedule for students to follow.  This is a great example of teaching our students about time management.  It is a interesting concept to offer a "soft" due date of Friday and close the assignment on Sunday.  Please share how your students do with this method.  I am very interested.

Have a great day!