Supporting Students’ Time Management Through Deadline Flexibility and Responsive Instructor Support

Grant programExploring Well-being in Learning Environments: An Integrated Seminar Series and Grants Program

Grant recipientAtousa Hajshirmohammadi, Faculty of Applied Sciences

Project team: Ling Zhu, research assistant

Timeframe: May 2020 to July 2021

Funding: $5,000

Courses addressed:

ENSC 220 – Electric Circuits 1
ENSC 280 – Engineering Measurement and Data Analysis
ENSC 327 – Communication Systems

Description: This project is intended to help students gain more control, and as a result, take more responsibility over their time management. The idea is to provide them with tips and tools for time management as well as some flexibility for due dates of assignments throughout the semester, allowing a “grace period” for handing in assignments. The “grace period” allows students an extension of between one to three days beyond the due date of an assignment without any penalty. Students are often overwhelmed when they have several assignments or exams from various courses due within a short period of time. I hope that by giving them this flexibility they will gain better control over managing their time and this will alleviate some of the stress they feel when several due dates are too close to each other. In my current and upcoming teaching, I will be trying several other ongoing approaches – based on the literature and based on timely recognition of top-of-mind student issues. I will document these approaches, and their impact, along with the impact of the assignment grace period flexibility. I hope that my students will feel less stressed, more connected to each other, and more in control of their wellbeing during this very strange period in their life.

Questions addressed:

  • What approaches and methods can I use in my teaching to try and support student wellbeing?
  • How and why does better time management help improve students’ wellbeing in learning?
  • How does my approach to giving students the opportunity to manage their time affect their wellbeing?
  • How do each of the ad hoc measures I have taken in connecting with students and helping students connect with each other during the pandemic helped with their wellbeing?

Knowledge sharing: I plan to share the results via word-of-mouth and a Teaching Matters session on Wellbeing. I also plan on sharing a summary table of approaches, with pros/cons/considerations via mailing list (e.g., Teaching Matters and departmentally)  

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