As you begin thinking about course design for next semester, consider when you want to make your assignments due. Because our online courses usually start on a Monday, instructors tend to make assignments due midnight on Sunday or 8:00 a.m. on Monday. This may not be a good idea.
You see, we don’t have 24/7 technical help for our students or faculty. When students have technical difficulties while trying to turn in an assignment on Sunday or early Monday morning, there is no where for them to go. They get frustrated because no one is responding to their email or calls and then they get panicky because their assignment will be late. You hear from them, we hear from them, we hear from you–and it becomes a bad situation all around. This can be avoided.
Distance students do most of their work on weekends. Try making your assignments due Monday evening or Tuesday morning. This way the students have a full day to resolve technical difficulties. It should reduce the level of frustration all around, which will improve the learning experience for the students.