5 AM PSET deadline?

One of my favorite professors at MIT (Eran Egozy) had one of the best homework policies. Initially, I was skeptical, but I’ve begun to agree with his thinking.

He argues that midnight deadlines don’t help anyone. Most college students don’t sleep by 12 anyway, and professors aren’t going to grade that late at night. He makes all assignments due at 5 AM to account for people who tend to work later into the night.

But then you’re thinking, why would we want to enable the students to stay up late? The way I’ve come to see it, most people with sane sleep schedules will have trouble working that late into the night. If someone is doing work from 12 – 5 AM, it’s probably because, A) they started too late — in which it’s the student’s fault and by assigning a midnight deadline will make them even sadder — or force them to write an email asking for a deadline. Or B) they are productive at night, which gives them equal time to someone who would do work in the afternoon.

Either way, a student will probably work at night regardless, so I don’t think changing the due date will change how students act in practice.

Over the years, some of my closest friends have had extremely counter-intuitive sleep schedules. Because they didn’t have any extracurriculars to anchor their schedules, they would phase in and out of my waking hours. Even as someone working full time, the weird hours seem pretty normal. People randomly go to different time zones to work remotely, take late-night shifts, and field foreign calls with people in Asia. It’s not bad for you; it’s normal :).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.