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As a course lecturer, should I excuse late assignment submissions if I wrote the assignment deadline slightly wrong?

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Jasmin Bhasin

User

( 5 months ago )


I am the course lecturer of an undergraduate course. For a recent assignment, I had written the assignment deadline as 23 November 2018 (Saturday). Unfortunately, 23 November is actually a Friday, and not a Saturday.

I received an email from a student asking for me to excuse his/her assignment which was submitted late. The student explained that he/she marked the deadline as Saturday, without checking the assignment date.

Question

Should I excuse the student's late submission because I made a slight mistake in specifying the assignment deadline?

Note: We use a learning management system to receive assignment submissions, and the assignment deadline was entered correctly in the learning management system.

What I decided to do

For the current incident: After reading the answers, and thinking it through, I decided that it is better to use the later of the two deadlines (i.e., 24 November Saturday) as the official deadline for the assignment. I did make a mistake in writing the wrong day of the week for the deadline, and students could have been misled with my mistake. It is not fair to punish such students for my mistake.

For future courses:

  • The more places I put the deadline in (e.g., the syllabus, the assignment itself, the learning management system), it becomes likely that I will make a mistake somewhere.
  • In the future, I will put the deadline in only the learning management system, and refer students to check the deadlines there.

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Sarah Jones

User

( 5 months ago )

In dubio pro reo (in a case where nothing happened anyway)

Mistakes happen. Like you writing the wrong day for a certain date. Happened once, the "damage" is that students may have a reason to hand in one day later. That's it. And that's basically nothing.

Students are humans too. Most probably he/she really did not pay too much attention, did not look it up properly. Like no one of us would have or normally does in his daily business. And that's fine. Because it was not about life and death.

Let it be like that and accept the hand-in saying that you really wrote the wrong day (and may even apologize for the small mistake, as it may caused some confusion and a little anxiety to the student when he realized it). Even thinking about that incident is too much energy wasted for nothing happened. And be happy that you did not write the date of a test wrong or similar. Keep the mouse a mouse, don't make it an elephant.

Also, not accepting it will result in punishing a (most probably) innocent student. That's just unfair and will leave a very bad impression with the student. No reason to risk that.

.

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