Time Management in a Moodle English Course


From a recent discussion on the Canvas hosted course   ‘Teaching Online: Reflections on Practice’

Discuss the implications for deadlines and due date structuring in your online classes.  How do you plan to keep your students on track throughout your course?  What sort of due date/deadline structure will work best for you and your students?

Janet Webster

My Moodle English courses are segmented into 15 week blocks with assignments due at the end of each week, usually Sunday evenings at midnight-giving the students the full week and weekend to complete work. My Moodle settings are configured so that students have a one hour grace period for submission, but no uploads are accepted by Moodle after the grace period. Sometimes, students will send their work to my email b/c they have missed the deadline, and I do accept the work as a special circumstance but not if the pattern repeats itself week by week with any single student. Over a ten year period of teaching this way online, I have to say that the consistency of weekly assignment due dates keeps the students organized. I have also learned not to overload students with work; this has meant very careful choices on my part when deciding which resources and activities to include when trying to maximize the learning outcomes.

Perhaps the most troublesome semester is summer semester where students have registered for the online course but have summer vacation plans and miss some of the deadlines.

I do send out deadline reminders to my students’ emails which they often access on their phones or tablets and they often thank me for the update reminders. The Moodle site also has upcoming deadline or due date reminders in the right hand margin of the website.

I find that students need support with time and personal management, and I think that the Moodle LMS actually really helps students with learning management issues.

I suggest that students access the course website 4 times a week, at minimum. I also check their activity reports and ask them to check their own activity reports-this is another online tool which is very useful for fighting procrastination. I will email a student who has not accessed the course website in any week.

Emily McWorthy


Regarding your statement:

Perhaps the most troublesome semester is summer semester where students have registered for the online course but have summer vacation plans and miss some of the deadlines.

YES!  I’ve run into this issue MANY times. I’m always very surprised that the expectation is there that the instructors will accommodate them or provide an extension.  After one summer semester I put a statement in my syllabus that stated “vacations are not considered valid excuses for late work.  If you have a planned extended absence, you may work ahead.”

To be honest, I’ve taken vacations several times while teaching online.  Most places offer Wi-Fi for free, so I’ve never had any issues.  My students wouldn’t even know I was on vacation.  I usually expect the same as them.  This is the beauty of online learning.

Anyway, the discussion point I was getting at here, was the idea of the working ahead policy.  This can be troublesome if your class is discussion-heavy, but I know students like the flexibility.  I personally let them work ahead as much as they want, but they are still required to meet the participation guidelines for discussions, so they may have to go back and do their discussion replies.

Janet Webster

You are right about the need for internet connectivity!! That is what I tell my students at the start of summer semester that it is still their responsibility to have internet connection even if on holiday for summer semester (and why does it matter where they are, anyway?). The excuses I get really indicate a mindset about educational assignments and ‘bricks and mortar’ institutions. In the business world, I think mobility it is far more acceptable and even conventional than in the educational settings.

I too have traveled while teaching online. I sometimes have PD work out of the country.

As far as working ahead, I only roll out the course one week in advance. When they open the course on the first day of the semester, they get a maximum of 3 weeks of the syllabus. I am taking several EdX and Coursera courses currently and I notice that the the courses on these platforms also unfold in this fashion.

One of the reasons that I do not display the entire course at the start of the semester is that I like to switch things up each term, depending on how things are going with the students. I also teach blended mode at the same time as I teach my onlines, so I need to coordinate materials and I do a fair amount of creating of the course along the way. This also keeps things flexible and interesting for me as well.


ROP Week2 Wrap-up

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