Dear Undergraduate Student (II)

Dear ____:

I appreciate that technical difficulties prevented you from uploading your assignment when you attempted to do so on Monday night. However, in order to be consistent and fair to all students, I unfortunately can’t give you credit for this assignment.

I know what you’re thinking, because it’s the same thing I thought when I was a student (not that long ago) and one of my professors wouldn’t accept late work (or would heavily penalize it). You’re thinking, “What’s the difference whether it comes in before midnight or after midnight? You’re not going to grade them at 1am, so why can’t I send it in now?” I acknowledge that deadlines are arbitrary. But this is a university course, and deadlines are necessary–for my sake and for yours. If the deadline wasn’t 11:59pm on Monday–let’s just say it was 5pm on Tuesday–then some students would have trouble uploading their papers at 4:45pm and ask for an extension to 6pm, and on and on. We have to draw the line somewhere.

In the syllabus and in my previous emails about online submission of assignments, I tried to emphasize the importance of not waiting until only a few hours are left to submit assignments, just in case something were to go wrong again:

“Because the internet issues persist, I’ve extended the submission deadline to Friday night. However, it is your responsibility to find internet to upload the assignment to the online portal. If that means going home, getting a ride to Starbucks or a public library–whatever–please ensure that the assignment is submitted by Friday night.” (Oct 20)

“Because there have been issues with the online portal, I want to remind you that you are responsible for ensuring that documents upload to the online portal properly. If you are concerned about issues with your computer, your wifi, or the online portal system, then you should make sure to complete the assignment allowing enough time to visit IT (during normal business hours) if there is a problem. I extended the due date two days for this assignment because of an issue, but I can’t offer extensions to individuals. I have to be fair to those who did the work on time and took care to upload the assignment correctly.” (Sept 10)

This is what is written in the syllabus:

“An ability to work with the online portal is a must for this class. We are all new to the system and you will need to take steps to become familiar, either by asking classmates or contacting IT for technical help. I likely won’t be able to answer your questions, as I am learning it too….

“Not knowing how to upload assignments via the online portal is not an acceptable excuse for not handing them in.

“Late assignments will not be accepted and you will receive a zero. I will be happy to discuss with you truly extenuating or emergency situations, but one of the reasons you have a syllabus is to plan ahead and manage your time wisely.”

It gives me no pleasure to do this–believe me, it’s much easier just to give in and say, “Ah well, it’s only a few hours’ difference.” But there are other students who took the time to do the assignment in a timely manner and left enough time to allow for technical difficulties (perhaps even not doing as good a job as they had hoped to do, but doing it on time nonetheless). To accept late work would be to disrespect their efforts.

I hope that all makes sense, even though it’s not pleasant to hear. Feel free to call or email me if you have any questions, or if there were other extenuating circumstances (family emergency, medical issue) that warrant consideration.


Dr. Giffone

About Benj

I’m a native North Jerseyan, transplanted to Pennsylvania...lived and taught in Eastern Europe for six years…Old Testament professor, ordained minister, occasional liturgist…husband to Corrie…father to Daniel and Elizabeth.
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