Welcome to the new (and now only) Fora!

Main Menu

How long after classes start should adds be allowed?

Started by marshwiggle, January 18, 2024, 06:22:22 AM

Previous topic - Next topic


At my place, students can add up to the end of week2 (of 12).
Yesterday (after 1 1/2 weeks), I had a student add. By today, he seems to have dropped. ?!?

By this time he's missed two labs, (since labs are early in the week), an online quiz and a lecture quiz. (Plus, of course, 1 1/2 weeks of lecture material.) It's difficult, if not impossible, to "make up" all of that.

How late should adds be allowed?
Horror stories?

(It is rare, in my experience, that someone who adds late really does great in a course.)

It takes so little to be above average.


Our add period is also 2 weeks-- I think it would be much better if it was 1. There could still be late-add exceptions made on a case by case basis (e.g., sometimes students have enrollment holds, but are actually attending while they wait for them to be lifted).
"Never get separated from your lunch. Never get separated from your friends. Never climb up anything you can't climb down."
–Best Colorado Peak Hikes


Quote from: marshwiggle on January 18, 2024, 06:22:22 AM(It is rare, in my experience, that someone who adds late really does great in a course.)
Yeah, same here.  We allow adds for 1.5 weeks.  I'd rather it be for 1 week at most.
Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all. ~ Dirk Gently


Our adds end at the end of the first week of classes, which I think is best. In the old days we went two weeks or more
and folks missed several labs before adding.


"I know you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure that what you heard was not what I meant."


My current institution only allows a week. I taught for a while at a place that allowed adds 2 weeks into a 15 week semester. Rarely was anyone successful who added at the end of the second week and it was such a pain to deal with all the late/missed work they had to make up.
I never look back, darling. It distracts from the now.


We allow 2 weeks and we are on 10-week quarters!  It's really bad for classes with labs.  And we aren't told when someone adds late.  So, unless they self-identify, I have no way to know who they are.  I've also noticed that the late adds typically do not pass.

Horror story:
We offer 5-week summer session classes.  That means 6 hours of lecture + 2 labs every week.
Registration still allows students to add at the end of Week 2.
That's right - students can miss 40% of a class and still add.  They won't pass.


It seems to me, as I look at the posters on this thread, most of us are in things with labs. I wouldn't be surprised if the admincritters who think two weeks late is still OK are from other programs, (and apparently pretty non-demanding ones at that.)
It takes so little to be above average.


But even classes like Econ, at our college, have a number of low stakes, but important, assignments.
If you miss early ones, its hard to get up to speed. Good students can do it well enough, but poor students who can hardly do this when they are there from day one, can not accelerate the learning curve.


Are there many fields and/or courses that are very non-heierarchical and non-sequential? Those would seem to be the only kind that would be relatively easy to catch up in, since all one would need to do is learn the missed material before a mid-term or final. In anything that isn't like that, then catching up all has to be done essentially ASAP since current material won't be comprehensible until the missed material has been assimilated.
It takes so little to be above average.


For several years I taught an introductory online asynchronous course for a community college in another state. It generally had a 40 per cent attrition rate. Students would often add the course two to three weeks late, which required my permission. I would always tell the student and their advisor that while I would let the student in, I did not advise doing this since there was quite a bit of work to make up and most students adding this late failed the class, but that I would work with the student to catch up if they wanted. They always promised to do this, but most of them ended up failing.

One semester, about two weeks into the semester, I got a call on my cell phone from the university president (!) who was very anxious for me to take part in a new initiative, a late-starting course that started a month later than normal, ended at the same time, and covered the same material as the regular course. The idea was that there were many students who had been unable to register for the normal course but still wanted/needed to take another course. I agreed. Of the dozen students who enrolled, not one finished the course. This was the only class I have ever taught in more than 20 years' teaching in which every single student failed.

As an aside, I think it is actually a good idea to have some staggered courses, because there are reasons why students might need to start late. However, taking students who are by definition marginal (because they couldn't get it together to register on time, for whatever reason), put them in class that has a high attrition rate, in a modality that many find more challenging, with a professor who is by definition marginal (because I was in another state and only teaching online as an adjunct), and making it more difficult by compressing the course is not a recipe for success in any circumstances.


Presumably admin thinks that greater flexibility will lead to more customer satisfaction. I wonder if they have any evidence that works for extended add periods. Generally, it leads to students having more problems.

I'd like students to have to read out loud and then sign a document before they add a class saying that they understand:
-- adding a class late may cause them problems that are not solvable by the faculty member
-- they are responsible for catching up on all the material that was covered before they added
-- they should not expect to be the faculty member's top priority regarding problem solving when they add a class late.

If students would agree with this, I'd be happy with extended add periods.
"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."—Sinclair Lewis


Quote from: marshwiggle on January 18, 2024, 11:17:03 AMIt seems to me, as I look at the posters on this thread, most of us are in things with labs. I wouldn't be surprised if the admincritters who think two weeks late is still OK are from other programs, (and apparently pretty non-demanding ones at that.)

It's usually a week, which is late even for non-lab courses. Writing courses are for the most part workshops, so if students miss the first week, they are already at a disadvantage because they've missed out on getting feedback on short writing prompts, and the deconstruction of paragraphs. They've also missed out on low stakes assignments which are designed to help them with susequent assignments. I once had the chair of VeryImportantMajor asking me to help a student who had missed the first two weeks of class by reteaching the materials covered during the four missed classes during office hours. I had to remind the VeryImportantMajor chair that this was a writing course, where students learning by practicing and honing their skills and that the syllabus clearly stated that missed classes would not be retaught. Chairs as well as students have told me that "it's only English" to excuse absenses and missed assignments.

Unless the students are higly motivated, late additions do not fare well in writing courses.


I am a historian. It is, objectively speaking, not that difficult to make up two or even three weeks of an introductory course: you would have to read three chapters, which may be between 60 and 90 pages. You would also have to post the weekly discussion boards, and I allow students to do this late.

And in this particular course, the units were not necessarily linked (i.e., you could learn about Ancient Africa without having done the unit on Mesopotamia).

All of this is why I did allow students to enter late. However, students had a very hard time going from 0-60 so rapidly. Not only did they have to jump right into the material, they had to go back and do previous units' reading. And since there was an exam around week five or six, they didn't have too much time to do it.

If I taught a lab course, or even a language course (where you cannot do unit 4 without having done the previous units), I don't think it would have even have been theoretically possible. Which might have been better because students would not have tried.


I really wish that that admins would believe us when we say that late adds don't do well. In our department we even have hard data on this. Intro Basket weaving in our department is a HUGE course than many first semester freshmen take. It has a lab. Because of this we always end up with a few lab sections being created right before the first day of class to "catch" these late add students. The failure rate in these sections when compared to the rest is astounding.
   We have pointed this out to any admin who cares to listen. They all nod in sympathy and then tell us to "work our magic" as teachers. URGH!