Use due dates!

People (including your students) fall into broadly two groups

  • those who like to get stuff out of the way as soon as possible
  • those who leave things until the last minute.

There is a third group of people who do things in an orderly, scheduled manner, but it’s very small.

What proportion of your students is in each group? My guess is that the second group accounts for more than half.

The do-it-nowers will complete your Yacapaca assignments as soon as they appear in their to-do lists. Hooray! They are sorted, unless you overwhelm them with too much work.

The last-minuters will do it the night before it’s due. So what happens if you set some work with no date, or a date far in the future? They won’t do it at all. Set a few of these, and those students will come to see Yacapaca as something they are supposed to ignore, and your confidence, in turn, will be knocked.

My advice is to set no more than 1-3 quizzes or one written task at a time, with a short deadline. The Yacapaca default is a week, but make it shorter if you can. If you want to line stuff up ahead of time, set start dates as well, so there is still only a short window during which students know they must complete the work.

This is another place teams can be really useful. Make team success meaningful by offering praise and prizes for the winning team. Slackers will then come under peer pressure to complete, as their personal results affect their team’s chances of winning.

Combine these two techniques and I guarantee your completion rate (and your students’ results) will rise.

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