I’ll confess that I don’t have hard deadlines for class projects. You are all old enough to know the potential consequences if you miss a deadline for an employer. But for now, you need to focus on learning skills and building a portfolio, and it’s more effective to do that without a deadline. Hard deadlines don’t do much anyway for students or teachers. Teachers are already overwhelmed and deadlines are just one more thing to worry about. Some students have great work on time and some students don’t turn in anything at all. In my experience, that behavior will continue regardless of a hard or soft deadline. And the rest of the students will rush to meet the deadline resulting in sloppy work. So I ask, as a designer who is constantly trying to get to the root of the problem and discover better solutions … what is the true purpose of a class deadline? What is it accomplishing and where is the positive outcome?
Some of you will be on time. Some of you will have personal issues that hinder your progress. Some of you will be working on something good, and I’d rather you keep going then stop for an imaginary deadline. And some of you will slack. This is the way it goes … every … single … semester. So as a teacher, I don’t need deadlines.
I hope that my approach to class deadlines will help prepare everyone for the real world. I’ve given you the flexibility to balance your classwork with your life and the opportunity to practice your own time management. Take advantage of it or don’t; it’s your career, not mine.