Many students take online courses because they have obligations — work, family, health, military service — that impact their ability to attend courses on-campus. Especially during disruptive times, those obligations can impede even on their online courses. Allowing students flexibility with completing their assignments helps them to succeed when they might struggle otherwise.
Read below for some ideas on how to grant students flexibility in Canvas courses.
Building Oops Tokens into a Course
Some instructors acknowledge life’s complications by granting students 1-3 Oops Tokens at the beginning of the term that they use to submit an assignment late or even redo one.
Why build Oops Tokens into a course? After all, instructors could simply alert students to the excused absence policies or announce that they can be lenient with due dates if requested. However, building Oops Tokens into a course does two things beyond this: it shows the instructor cares about their students; and it saves students from having to share information about their lives that they may prefer to keep private, not knowing beforehand whether the “excuse” would be dire enough to earn an extension.
One way to build Oops Tokens into Canvas is to create an assignment that does not contribute to the final grade and is worth 0 points. Change the submission type to No Submission. If you have weighted Assignment Groups, put it in a group worth 0% of the grade. As students “turn in” their Oops Tokens (ie, let you know they want to use one), the instructor can record them in the assignment.
Alternatively, the assignment can be worth the total number of Oops Tokens allowed. The instructor would reduce the number as students use their tokens.
An even easier method would be for the instructor to keep track of student Oops Tokens using the Notes column in the gradebook. However, students can’t see this column, so the instructor should be sure to warn a student when they’re running out of tokens.
As a bonus, the instructor could allow students to exchange their unused Oops Tokens at the end of the semester for extra credit.
Extending Due Dates
As long as your assignments don’t have end dates, students can submit them past the due date; they will simply be marked late. Read more about Availability Dates at this blog post: Understanding Assignment Dates in Canvas.
Updating the due date in Canvas is a helpful way for the student to stay on track. Click the following link for instructions on how to grant due date extensions in Canvas: How do I assign an assignment to an individual student? (Tip: don’t remove the due date for Everyone; rather, simply add a due date for the individual student).
Extending Course Access
Occasionally, students may have such a large disruption in their life that they need access to the course even beyond the official close date. It is possible to keep a course open for an individual student while closing it for everyone else. Please work with iDocs to set this up. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, the iDocs instructional designers would be happy to help with any of these processes.