Assignment Due Date

Mary, the “Remind me” date does not show in the Teacher’s calendar in my Moodle.  (Moodle 3.3+ (Build: 20170601), Boost.)  Should I post this in Tracker as a new “Bug,” or should my previous Tracker item be reopened?

This issue (problem) is going to take a lot more thought.  What I see is a transition into “Reminders” with this new “Remind me” date that right now seems to be only in the Assignments activity.  However, if Moodle starts doing this, then these “Remind me” dates might eventually make their way into every Moodle “Activity.”

Yep, how should Moodle handle “reminders” and “notifications?”  

My current belief is that reminders should be handled differently than “Due Dates.”  These are two separate instructional needs.  Additionally, it is the Activity Due Date that should automatically go into the Calendar, and this feature should be in available in every Activity because Due Dates commonly signal the end of an “activity” (meaning, no more activity.)

So, the removal of the Assignment Due Date from the Teacher’s Calendar is an oversight of the bigger issue -- consistently handing Due Dates while providing a Reminder feature.

Sure, maybe some would simply set the “Reminder Date” to be equal to the Due Date (and this would quickly satisfy me,) however, one might want multiple reminders, such as: “Remind me to send assignment due reminder to students,” “Remind me to inform students that this assignment is due tonight,” “Remind me to remind my teaching assistant to grade this assignment,” and “Remind me to double check that the TA has finished grading,” shows how complex reminders might become.  And I certainly agree that notifications are an important feature to moodle and needs much more thought and development.  There are many “reminders” that instructors might want for other Activities too; “Remind me to grade open-ended quizzes,” “Remind me to grade forum posts,” etc.  I don’t think these reminders will work well from within the creation or editing of Activities, they are better somehow handled in the Calendar.

But getting back to Due Dates, every Moodle Activity should provide for a Due Date and it is this date that should show in the Moodle Calendar.  A teacher should not have to switch to student-view to see student due dates.

As you and others can see, starting to put “Reminders” into moodle is going to require a lot more thought.  I give credit to those who were involved in the decision to include reminders into Assignments, but having it replace the Due Date in the Calendar seems a little short-sighted.

So, what are your thoughts moving forward?  

I would recommend not batching up assignments to a common deadline, because that makes it even more challenging for students to manage their time properly. If someone waited to the last minute on an assignment in the prior regime, now they'll be waiting until the last minute on 3 assignments and be in even worse shape -- compounded by the mental effort in prioritizing which one they should work on first. Under the original regime, they have more opportunities to engage in this cycle and get feedback on how their study skills work for them.

My response to these types of problems is to have a blanket policy of dropping a certain number of grades from consideration; for example, in my classes, there are 12 weekly online quizzes, and the lowest 3 are dropped for each student at the end of the course. There are absolutely no makeups or past-due work allowed for any reason, which massively clears out my own time (absolutely no chasing students or managing late work after my grading process is completed). Plus, the "drop N grades" is automatically supported by the Blackboard management system.

In my classes, I don't give any special allowances to students who first show up later in the semester (but this may vary for your institution). I had a student join my class in the 2nd meeting last week, and he had already missed the first quiz submission; he asked "Can I make that up?", and the answer was simply, "No", and being pointed to the syllabus for the drop allowance, which in the years I've been using it has always been accepted quite gracefully. In my opinion, it's the most efficient use of your time as an academic.

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