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Late assignments a growing occurrence on campus

December 4, 2008

As the temperature steadily drops and the end of the semester draws near, teachers and students alike have noticed an increase in workload and academic pressures that has led to an increase in students turning in late assignments or even failing to complete homework altogether.

Professors at UW-River Falls offered a wide range of opinions regarding the recent trend.

“Yes, definitely,” English professor Michelle Parkinson said when asked whether this has affected her classes. “Everyone gets tired at the end of the semester, including me. That means that students are more likely to find themselves in trouble because they are often missing class as well.”

Each instructor has a different policy for accepting late work, some more tolerant than others.

“My policy is clear, but lenient,” Parkinson said. “I offer a 24-hour grace period and a one-week extension that students can use once. Most students are good about turning things in on time.”

Another professor in the English department who wished to be unnamed said that her zero-tolerance policy for late work is an extremely effective way to discourage students from submitting tardy assignments. She stressed that in the real world, being irresponsible can cost people their jobs, instead of just a grade.

Economics professor Pascal Ngoboka said he also stresses the importance of turning homework in on time to his students. He said that communication between students and teachers is key.

“I have a no late assignment policy. I spend 10 minutes the first day of class emphasizing this and making it clear. An assignment here or there can make a big difference,” he said.

Senior Adam Kells has said he has noticed the difference in policies between teachers.

“It is easier to turn in late work with some professors more than others, but as a whole I think that most don’t tolerate late work and there are consequences,” he said.

Another student, who wished to remain anonymous, said that he has repeatedly gotten away with turning in work late or not at all his entire college career. Although he maintains a GPA of over 3.0, he said that on the occasion that he does attend class, he often either sleeps or leaves early.

“I think I’ve been to the Library Bar more than the actual library, and I’ve only been to the Library Bar a few times,” said the fourth-year student, who will graduate in the spring. “In four years, I’ve probably spent less than 50 hours total doing homework and studying.”

International students at UWRF shared unique thoughts about schoolwork and class attendance, which can be attributed to the difference in academic policy between the universities in their home countries and those of UWRF.

Miho Kondo, a Japanese exchange student, said that her professors at UWRF were extremely lenient compared to the strict guidelines in Japanese schools.

“They are too kind,” she said. “For example, in America, many people are good at negotiating due dates. But in Japan, if a teacher sets a date, it does not change.”

Kondo added that she has never turned in late work, and has missed only three or four classes in her college career.

Veeko Chen, an exchange student from Taipei, Taiwan, has a similarly strong work ethic.

“I always turn in homework on time,” she said. “I have not skipped once yet this year.”

She added that in Taiwan, there is some room for students to discuss grades and late work with their teachers.

While students go about their work in different manners, Parkinson stresses the importance of punctuality and offered an encouraging message as papers and assignments pile up.

“We’re all in this together,” Parkinson said. “Let’s try to negotiate and be fair.”