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dmmetler

If classes are cancelled, do you alter the syllabus?

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We had the first week of classes cancelled last week due to weather, and my bonus kid was panicked this morning, because she got to her first class and was told that no one in the class had turned in an assignment on time, that he was going to be generous and give them until midnight, but that they had messed up.

 

Sure enough, the assignment is due today on the syllabus, but the class was supposed to cover two full chapters before that point, and with two missed classes, they are not at that point in lecture even at the end of class today. I don’t know if he posted the syllabus online the week before or not.

 

I honestly don’t know whether to tell her that it’s her responsibility to keep up with the syllabus, even if it doesn’t match what is being taught, or if she needs to cut her losses and drop that class and try a different prof (I don’t know if she’d be able to change sections or not. They did extend drop-add, but a lot of things are full, and she has a work schedule to work around as well).

 

FWIW, all of DD’s profs updated the syllabus to reflect new dates, as did BK’s other classes.

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It does seem extraordinarily harsh to not move a due date if the material had not been covered. I left mine but we had covered all the material. 

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That's a good lesson for sure! Honestly it probably would not have occurred to me that assignments would still be due. However, the lesson moving forward is to communicate with the prof whenever there is an unexpected change in class schedule in regard to expectations/due dates.

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There should have been clearer communication whether students are still responsible for assignments.

 

If in doubt, I would always recommend to assume that assignments are still due, because "it was not covered in class" is no longer a valid excuse in college. There may be assignments where the material is not covered in class at all and students are responsible for figuring out how to do this. 

 

Still, the prof should have let them know what to expect.

My first day of classes was cancelled due to cold (don't get me started, this is completely ridiculous!). I emailed my students, directed them to my online resources, and told them to still try the homework (but we didn't grade it.)

 

Edited by regentrude
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The professor should have messaged the class to inform them that everything was going ahead as scheduled. For the first week, I think that's unkind, I would likely modify the assignment if it was my class. 

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If I were the professor, I would have posted a notice through the LMS telling students how I would handle the missed days and whether or not assignments were still due as scheduled.  If no one did the assignment, I am wondering if that happened.  I have had several situations where I thought students were provided notification through the LMS to find out that was not the case because of technology problems with the university. I wonder if something like that happened in this case.  

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Ideally, the professor would email his students but the student would also assume assignments have not automatically changed. 

 

Depending on the assignment, it could be reasonable or not to require them to follow the original date. If you can do the homework simply by reading the assigned chapters, then yes, that's reasonable. 

 

Like a great but annoying teacher once said, a day off from class is not a day off from class work. 

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Ideally, the professor would email his students but the student would also assume assignments have not automatically changed. 

 

Depending on the assignment, it could be reasonable or not to require them to follow the original date. If you can do the homework simply by reading the assigned chapters, then yes, that's reasonable. 

 

Like a great but annoying teacher once said, a day off from class is not a day off from class work. 

Also, if it is an initial class assignment, it may not depend upon any knowledge from a lecture or assigned chapters.  Sometimes an initial assignment is an introduce yourself, a what do you think, or a test of background knowledge.  

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Also, if it is an initial class assignment, it may not depend upon any knowledge from a lecture or assigned chapters.  Sometimes an initial assignment is an introduce yourself, a what do you think, or a test of background knowledge.  

 

Yes, that too. Half my first assignment in each course consists of a basic skill review.  

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I’ll encourage her to stick with it, and keep up on the portal (and assume there was a message posted she missed until I hear otherwise).

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Encourage her to make a habit of trying the homework after readings are done, without waiting for the in class coverage. She can hit the tutor or office hours for anything unclear before the due date.  

 

She should read grading scheme carefully.  Maybe one homework will be dropped out of the calculations.

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It depends on the class.  If it's a 3 hour/once per week class, I will re-work the syllabus and post the re-worked syllabus; otherwise, no.  But no matter the class, I send out an announcement via Blackboard explaining how I will be handling makeup work and assignments for a cancelled class; this would include snow cancellations by the college.  However, if I were a student, I would make no assumptions about the syllabus being altered and would have had the readings and assignment prepared.  Now that the class knows how this instructor operates, it shouldn't be a surprise  in the future.

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I honestly don’t know whether to tell her that it’s her responsibility to keep up with the syllabus, even if it doesn’t match what is being taught,

 

Yes, she should. She should email the prof for clarification when she needs to,  and she can do this at any time. It is not uncommon for exams to cover material that is only covered in reading assignments and not discussed in class. This is especially true when profs re-use questions from exams from previous semesters, or even use the same/similar exam in multiple sections in the same semester. 

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I would have had her e-mail the prof directly, but otherwise yes.  My kid had to e-mail a prof for an issue last week and the prof was grateful for him reaching out to clear something up for the whole class. 

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My syllabi state explicitly that assignments are still due as listed even when classes are cancelled.  It is a fail-safe for me.  I have always ended up sending a revision out to students based on the situation but if they do not hear from me, the assumption is that assignments will still be due.   So, yes, I would assume that assignments are due as scheduled unless otherwise specified.  If I was unsure, a simple email to the professor would clear it up.  At the college level, I would expect nothing different.  

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