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Choice of hand-in dates: students plan their deadlines (2 minutes : 59 seconds)

Ryan Beardsley (School of Physics & Astronomy), Andrew Fisher (School of Humanities), Michael Shaw (School of Biosciences).

One point of feedback that we’ve had from some students is the way that hand-in times and flexible deadlines can either work for them or work against them. What does your department do and how do you feel that benefits students?

Andrew Fisher, Philosophy:
It seems quite unique in that the department has three deadlines and they’re not flexible but you can hand in any essay on those days you’re doing for philosophy. So if you’re particularly struggling with something on Kant or something then you can leave that to the last deadline. The point is those deadlines you can just choose what essay to submit when.

They find that very useful, they can stagger that they’re going to work hard on that or ask more questions, it just gives them a bit more ability to manage their time and organise what they’re going to do, so that’s very useful. The hardest thing is actually explaining that to them! Once they’ve understand that they can do that they find it very useful.

What are the practical implications for that flexibility in hand-in dates for staff?

It’s quite useful in a way, in Moral Philosophy I have 350 students so thank goodness I’ve got three different chances of getting that split up, so on the first deadline I won’t get 350 or 100 to mark, so it’s quite useful in that sense. I think the main problem we had was just explaining that and getting that across to the students that they can choose which deadline to hand things in.

In the end after the third deadline everybody’s handed in everything they need to so you don’t miss anything, there’s no grey areas. Everyone’s done what they should have done it just gives them a bit more flexibility and I don’t think there’s any more problem with marking, it's just the same across the board; in fact it’s better as I said because if you’ve got big modules which typically we do, you can just split the marking across three deadlines.

Michael Shaw, student, Biosciences:

I found, from my experience, time management was really important, I really had to structure my time, but I think going to student services taught me how to manage my time effectively, so that kind of helped. As think as far as being dyslexic, I think you do need a lot more time, you’ve got to make your tutor aware that you need more time to try and absorb stuff, because I do struggle to absorb stuff straight away.

I’ve got a good reputation with the lecturers and tutors, so I haven’t got a problem with approaching them, and I think that’s what you need to do is approach them and say "Look, this is what I need", and in Bioscience you tend to find a lot of help in that department.

Produced: June 2007, in collaboration with the University's Promoting Enhanced Student Learning (PESL) initiative.

This video available in:
Module design: Setting deadlines (inclusive teaching)
Assessment & marking: Marking coursework (inclusive teaching)

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