Labor Day is the time for family, fun, and no-internet rules and we at AdjunctWorld hope you are enjoying yourself! When teaching online, it can feel like you need to work every day of the week, and that’s not true! Online teachers get holidays and days off too!
But what if the students don’t get the holiday “off”? This is sometimes the case – some online programs, especially accelerated ones, do not include all bank holidays as school holidays. This happens to be the case for a school for which I’m teaching right now. Indeed, technically my students have an assignment due tomorrow, as they do every Monday of the 5-week course.
I have two proposed work-arounds for this “problem.” One is, if its allowed by your school, agree with students ahead of time that you all will be taking the holiday off, with the due date extended until the following day (their papers may come up in the LMS as “late” but assure them that you will not deduct late points). The other idea is to simply inform students that you will be taking the holiday off and will not be logging in, but knowing that the due date is that day, you will be checking email or LMS messages the evening before to see if there are any questions.
The same goes if you are traveling during a day of the week when teaching an online course. If for any reason, you plan to be incommunicado for a day, inform students as early as possible (the first day of the course ideally) and remind them as the day gets closer. If they know there is a day when you will not be able to answer questions, they should structure themselves accordingly. Students are typically flexible and understanding in this way as long as you communicate early and often about your online absence. And, as long as you get back to them when you say you will.
Likewise, if you plan not to be online on certain days during the week as a general rule of thumb, clearly indicate it in the syllabus and students will also be expected to structure themselves accordingly. Simply make your availability known and remind students if necessary. Something in the syllabus like, “I am online in the morning and in the evening during the week and early Saturday mornings, but reserve Sundays for my family time. Please know that I may not respond immediately if you have questions on Sundays, but will get back with you soon after.”
I provide this advice not knowing the policies of every online program at every school, but in general – if you communicate with your students about your availability, they will respect it and adapt. They don’t want to be online every day either.
Have a safe and happy holiday, AdjunctWorld community members! Please comment below if you’d like to discuss more about how to organize “days off” in the online environment. But know that I won’t be online tomorrow! Something tasty will be waiting for me on the grill.