How much time should I give for homework? (Revisited.)

A student sent me an email asking for an extension on the due date for the online homework. She cited a shortage of time, lack of familiarity with mathematics, and lack of available help as reasons for the extension. I did not address the first two issues, but shortage of time tells me she is not willing to spend the time necessary to be successful in the course. Lack of familiarity with mathematics tells me she doesn’t meet the prerequisites, since, this early in the semester, about half of the material we covered  is from earlier courses. Here is my answer to his concern about lack of help:

You can get help with the MyMathLab aids: “Help me solve this,”  “View an example,” and in some cases videos and animations. You also can use the “Ask my instructor” button, which sends me email. In addition, you can come to my office to receive help. The Math/Science Center has free tutoring. The homework is due more than a week after the topic was covered in class. If you are doing the homework later than that, you are falling behind in the course.

I have no idea how many of these things the student has tried, but she never visited my office nor has she sent me an email on a specific question. The four assignments she wants an extension on are going to be tested on about 33 hours after they are due. Three of these assignments I wouldn’t hesitate to give to students in the prerequisite course. There is about an hour of additional homework that should be done before the test.

If the student is this far behind less than a month into the semester, how does she expect to finish the course? Worse yet, how does she expect to understand future lectures? The lecture after studying factoring is solving equations using factoring.

There is a lot of discussion about creating a self-paced course. Then this student will be able to spend the two or three semesters she needs to cover the material.


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