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Illustration by Vincent Maresca

Online assignments lack integrity, leniency for students

In recent years, online assignments are increasingly becoming more integrated into teachers’ curriculum. They can be convenient, environmentally friendly, and supposedly easier for students to accomplish more with same amount of time invested or less. But can the same be said with the students? Online assignments can be radically different from their traditional counterparts, and they offer less flexibility for both students and teachers in the way they are assigned and completed.

Since the internet has become a mainstream extension of people’s daily lives, teachers are taking advantage of it. At first glance, online assignments seem like the perfect package: they save time and costs on printing, and they can set due times and mark late or missing assignments. Furthermore, teachers do not have to decipher students’ handwriting and deal with complaints about missing homework.

However, with the way online assignments are structured, they contain flaws that prevent them from being more beneficial than traditional mediums of schoolwork. Online websites typically provide templates for teachers to use with few options for customization. In addition to that, students tend to find ways to circumvent proper procedures for completing assignments so they can cut the time they spend doing them while still getting marked as having completed the work. Quizlet’s flashcard feature, for example, is more convenient than conventional index cards, but they can be just as disengaging for students who have not put their heart into studying. When completing an activity online, students can pop open a different tab on the browser to look up the answers.

Ideally, students should complete their homework assignments before the day they are due. However, in order to make practical use of their time, a student might resort to completing homework the morning of the day it is due. Online assignments can be extremely limiting with their timestamps. Google Classroom, a popular website among teachers, enforces strict punctuality of homework, essays, and projects, and consequently limits students’ flexibility in arranging their schedules.  Teachers may sometimes set due times that are impractical, and can intrude on students’ free time during holidays or weekends. As it is, schools are struggling to provide students with as much liberty as it can without devaluing the educational process. Students should at least be provided with the freedom of when they finish minor homework assignments.

As new technology spring up, teachers become more interested in utilizing them in the classroom environment. Online assignments carry potential, but with the way they are currently designed, they do not allow for more flexible learning.

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