Q&A: Do Online Teachers Accept Late Assignments?

Answer: Sometimes things come up that keep students from submitting their work on time. It could be anything from computer issues, to job or family responsibilities, to illness or even a sudden emergency. With that said, let's address typical late policies and how some of these challenges can be avoided.

Most schools have standard late policies. The policy is often a specific point deduction or percentage for each day late. For example, the policy may be a -10% or -5 points each day the assignment is late. Some schools also each teacher to choose their own late policy, or enforce different policies for different types of assignments.

Instructors usually accept late work, but maybe not everything. For instance, you may be allowed to post in the discussion board a day late without penalty. However, specific assignments (i.e. quizzes, midterm and final exams) might not be accepted if submitted late. This means if they're not submitted by the due date, the student will not earn credit.

Let's go back to some of the challenges that can hinder students from submitting their work on time. Turning in assignments by the due date shouldn't be an issue, as long as you don't wait until the day before -- or day of -- to do it. Planning and managing your time is key to overcoming most issues that can arise. If your assignment is due on Sunday, you should begin working on it during the week and plan to have it completed by Saturday. This way, if you have any tech issues, you can plan to use a friend's computer or go to the library, if necessary.

Although we can't plan for illness or unplanned family needs, by preparing ahead of time, you can almost avoid any issues that might keep you from submitting your work. The only exception to this is emergencies. An emergency typically means a major unforeseen physical or medical event outside of your control. If this happens, the best thing to do is contact your instructor and explain the situation. The instructor may work with you to figure out an alternative due date or make-up assignment based on your needs.

When taking online classes, try your best to stay prepared and not procrastinate. Your final grade reflects your overall class effort -- make sure yours doesn't reflect late assignments.

Dr. Beverley BrowningDr. Beverly A. Browning (Dr. Bev) has been a higher education adjunct faculty member for over 25 years. She has taught in the classroom and online for multiple colleges and universities including Spring Arbor College, Baker College of Flint, Mott Community College, and Rio Salado College. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Spring Arbor College and Mott Community College. She is currently an online instructor for ed2go.com (Cengage Learning). In addition to founding and directing the Grant Writing Training Foundation, Dr. Bev is also Vice President of Grants Professional Services for eCivis, Inc. She is the author over over 37 grant-related publications and a frequent keynote speaker and workshop presenter for national and regional conferences. Dr. Bev is a product of lifelong learning and an advocate for online teaching and learning!