Beth Ryan is an Associate Professor of Instruction at Columbia College Chicago
My favorite MindTap feature is the Late Policy setting in the gradebook. Let’s face it, college students have many responsibilities competing for their time and attention. And at this age, time management skills are not always their strong suit as they are adjusting to adult learning. Allowing some flexibility in your late work policy may reduce stress and increase learning.
Strict deadlines are ingrained in the fabric of higher education and necessary for some activities, but maybe not all. I was challenged with making frequent exceptions for students who needed more time to complete their work, especially through these pandemic years when stressors have been high. So, I began loosening some assignment deadlines and creating a late policy in my course design which has led to increased student engagement and success.
I’m not advocating lifting all deadlines, because some structure is necessary in the learning process. I am suggesting adding some grace and space in your course design, allowing students to submit some assignments late with established consequences.
How to set your late work policy in MindTap
When you are in MindTap, click on Open Gradebook. Here you will find Progress options. Select Settings, then Set Late Penalty. You now have choices in length of time that late work can be submitted and percentage of penalty. Once you set your policies, MindTap automatically makes the adjustments so you don’t have to manually manage the process.
One of my primary objectives in teaching Business courses is to help students prepare for sustainable careers beyond their academic commitments. Therefore I assign weekly deadlines for required activities with a late policy of 5 days and a 10% reduction. I find that this establishes high expectations with some latitude to make mistakes and not fail entirely. It also significantly reduces the time and workload for me in managing the multitude of excuses and exceptions that students come with.
As students are navigating the increased responsibilities of adult life and a much more independent learning environment in higher education, setting late policies gives them opportunities to succeed even when they experience setbacks. This MindTap feature has become my favorite because students are more likely to persist and learn from their mistakes instead of giving up and failing completely.
Join Beth for a walkthrough of MindTap late policy settings in this tutorial video: