Late Work and Creativity

I spend a lot of time in my teaching trying to find the happy medium between mercy and justice.

This especially manifested itself this past semester in terms of late work. With an expanded number of classes and students, I instituted a new late work policy, which is basically that everything turned in by the end of the week (11:59 Saturday night) would be graded without penalty. Everything turned in after that would not be graded. In my immediate experience, students who needed some extra time to complete an assignment only needed an extra day or two.

This worked well for my freshman intro to college class. For my entrepreneurship and arranging classes, less so, probably because I’d make an exception once early in the beginning of the semester, and after that it was unfair to enforce it.

Also, the work we do in my non-freshman class is largely project-based, and when working creatively, sometimes writer’s block happens.

So, what I need is an easy-to-administer, easy to understand late work policy that gives students the flexibility to navigate their busy schedule (and promote self-time-management) and affords students the ability to spend some extra time on a project to bring it to its full potential.

This semester, I’m instituting the Late Work Pass.


The Late Work Pass (LWP) is a physical business card-sized piece of card stock which each student gets at the beginning of the semester. If they have an assignment to turn in after the grace period, they can turn it in with their LWP.

Even though each student gets one LWP per class, there’s nothing governing whether they keep it, barter it, sell it, or stockpile it for future classes. It can only be used for one assignment (no turning everything in during the last week of classes, unless you have enough LWPs to cover it), and you can’t use it outside of a semester (no turning in things after grades are due).

As an added benefit, it opens the discussion for supply and demand in Music Entrepreneurship.

And it lets me spend less mental energy on late work. And probably less on grading, too.

Decorative element
Kyle Vanderburg