Public Relations Today
Jayne Miller By Jayne Miller • February 23, 2015

Digital Techniques for Getting Students to Submit Their Homework

There will always be conscientious students you can count on to hand in assignments on time. And there will always be those who struggle with deadlines. We want to convert as many of the latter into the former as possible.

One approach is optimizing assignments for submission. This isn’t forgiveness for failure to complete work or making work easier, but a collection of small decisions in homework design that make completing assignments the obvious action for students.

Getting Homework Done with Chalkup


Let’s be clear: there should be consequences for not doing homework. You can choose what that looks like, but make the stakes known.

In Chalkup, there are ways to include those stakes with each assignment so they follow students outside of class. Attach your grading rubric to an assignment not only to guide students on what you’re looking for, but to highlight the results of failing to submit work.

Our assignment description space is another place to boost accountability. Add a line on how homework will prepare the class for an upcoming exam or the next unit of work, or use it as another place to underscore ramifications of unsubmitted work.

Optimize Assignments for Completion

Don’t Give Them an Excuse

Students who don’t submit homework can be remarkably good at finding an excuse for why they didn’t. Don’t let them.

In the Chalkup assignment creator you can include resources (links, rich media, files from your Drive) for each assignment so every aspect of the project is in one place.

Our cloud-based system will ensure that these resources are available whenever they sign on. (So, no. They can’t accidentally leave something integral to completing their work in the library.)

Put Time on Their Side

The obvious follow-up here: what if the objective of your assignment is finding resources independently and learning to project manage? If that’s the case, putting everything a student needs into the initial assignment robs them of that experience.

Go another route. We give you the functionality to include the estimated time that an assignment will take. This is important because it syncs with a student’s workload estimator and helps them better manage their day.

For assignments that rely on a student’s ability to research and/or troubleshoot, use that time estimator. Indicate how many hours you anticipate homework taking and invest effort in getting your estimates in line with how your class is progressing. The idea here is to build trust. When you say work will take an hour, students can rely on it taking about an hour. When a bigger, more time-consuming assignment is created and the workload estimator signals as much, your class knows they need to block out more time to succeed.

Does that mean everyone will turn the assignment in? Maybe not. But if a student who would otherwise fail to submit work completes a task because he or she needed time management support, then your assignment optimization won.

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