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Documented Differences In Student Preferences Regarding Assignment Due Dates In Distance Education (De) Courses

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Distance and Web-Based Learning in Engineering Technology: Part I

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.498.1 - 14.498.11



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Paper Authors

author page

Sherion Jackson East Carolina University

author page

Andrew Jackson East Carolina University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Turning-In Assignments: Student Preferences for Online Assignments and Due Dates


The purpose of this exploratory program evaluation study was to examine the due dates of online assignments in relationship to student needs and to provide faculty and instructors with foundational data for decision-making purposes including a basis for adjusting assignment due dates to better accommodate online students’ schedules. This process should allow online education to better meet the needs of distance education students and impact student satisfaction and learning positively in distance education.

Participants consisted of 337 undergraduate and graduate students who were currently enrolled in at least one online course in the College of Technology and Computer Science at East Carolina University. Students were contacted through the online course they were currently taking and were requested to respond to 10 questions online. Participants noted that assignment due dates and times which worked best with their schedules were Sunday and Monday at midnight or 8:00am. Participants preferred interactive or hands-on activities as assignments and that these students recommended that these assignments be scheduled weekly or bi-weekly. Overall, students responding to this survey indicated that consistency in scheduling assignments was viewed as extremely helpful. Overall, students taking online courses seem to prefer assignments that are interactive, as long as all members interact and that the assignments are due directly following a full weekend.


Though there is a substantial body of literature on the perceptions of online students centering on satisfaction of or dissatisfaction with delivery of instruction in online courses, the topic of due dates for online assignments appears to have been overlooked in the literature and research. (Buckley, 2003; Chickering, & Ehrmann, 1996; Kearns, Shoaf, & Summey, 2004; Smith, 2006) Others have studied issues associated with online courses including the problems with collecting online assignments (Goldman, Cohen, & Sheahan, 2008; Jaffe, 1997), giving particular types of assignments (Arbaugh, & Rau, 2007; Nichols, Shaffer, & Shockey, 2003; Lewis, & Abdul- Hamid, 2006)., and the composition of online student populations. (Buckley, 2003; Mentzer, Cryan,& Teclehaimanot, 2007) In future endeavors this body of knowledge could impact student course satisfaction or dissatisfaction on student evaluation of teaching surveys.

The purpose of this study is to examine due dates of online assignments in relationship to student needs. This study will benefit both instructors of online courses and students within these courses. The data gathered will provide faculty and instructors with foundational data for decision-making purposes when assigning due dates. The data gathered should also help students better fill both their job and family responsibilities and personal obligations by eliminating or reducing scheduling conflicts due to online class assignments and life scheduling conflicts. Many students who enroll in online courses do so because of job and family responsibilities. If we can better accommodate these students by adjusting due dates to meet their scheduling demands

Jackson, S., & Jackson, A. (2009, June), Documented Differences In Student Preferences Regarding Assignment Due Dates In Distance Education (De) Courses Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5287

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