Thursday, April 2, 2015

D2L Tip: What is the difference between “Due Date” and “End Date” for the D2L Dropbox?

D2L’s Dropbox tool offers three options for attaching dates to a particular dropbox folder; these options are located in the Restrictions tab while in Edit Folder mode (see screen shot below).

I happen to be a fan of the “Has Due Date” option and, more specifically, prefer it to the “Has End Date” option.  Why?  With the due date option checked, students will see the corresponding date/time along with the other dropbox details, which may help reduce the number of “when do we have to turn it in by?” questions.  When those date and time details are associated with the “Has Due Date” option (with no end date), then the D2L Dropbox will still accept file submissions past the specified date and time; however, the late submissions will be flagged on the instructor’s end.

       Example late flag in a dropbox folder with specified due date (but no end date):

How would this differ if using the “Has End Date” option?  The dropbox folder closes – that is, it stops accepting file submissions – at the specified date and time.  Will this magically ensure that all students will turn in their work on time?  Probably not.  In my experience, when a dropbox folder stops accepting submissions, any late submissions either end up in my email inbox or a dropbox folder for a different assignment where the files are easier for me to overlook or forget about.  I happen to be an instructor that enforces deadlines, but there are occasions when a late submission is reasonable – an authorized absence or unexpected D2L downtime are two examples that come to mind.

If you already have dropbox folders set up (or have copied them over from a previous semester’s class) and would like to adjust dates, consider using the Bulk Edit option to change dates for multiple dropbox folders on the same screen; the steps for using Bulk Edit are available on the Dropbox page in the D2L Faculty Guide.  

Tip contributed by Laura Middlesworth

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