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Welcome to the Online Teaching Library! 


Making it all up?

Charles Huenergardt, Online Director of Game Development, asked:

I have a student who feels like he should be allowed to turn in late work due to the hurricanes. He just told me that he was affected directly by the hurricane in Texas (According to his profile, he lives in Arizona). He never said that before. On 10/1 he informed me that he had a ton of mandatory overtime because the company he works for has a client in Florida that was affected by the hurricane and they had to scramble to fix it, so he didn’t have time for school. He also mentioned a crazy commute to work which he had to move to mitigate. And he wants to be able to turn in his work for the semester now. I’m not sure if we must make an exception in this case. I’m pretty understanding and most students who were affected either dropped or made up the few modules of late work. I’m not sure what to do here.

Should we allow him to make up all the work for the whole semester?


These cases come up periodically, and it's always a bit of a puzzler to figure out how to respond, especially when you're not sure whether the student is telling you the truth (and suspect he might not be). 

Here's my approach:

First of all, it doesn’t matter whether or not the student is telling the truth with his many excuses for not completing the work. While it's galling to be lied to, I choose to set that issue aside.

Whatever the reason, this student has fallen way behind. He does not fall into the circumstances described by the Academy policy on Excused Lateness in Online Classeswhich means that you are not required to let him submit his work late. However, if he thinks he can catch up, I prefer to give him that chance. I would:

    • First, ask him to think realistically about whether or not he can actually make up all his missed work before the semester ends. Does it make sense for him to scramble, given the tight timeframe, or would he be smarter just to take the class again next semester?

    • If he wants to go for it, then ask him to tell you when he will be able to submit the work and use that as his final deadline. (Obviously, it must be in before the end of the semester.)

    • Spell out any grade penalty you plan to impose for these late submissions.

    • Explain where the student should post his late work. (Ideally, this should be in the original assignment topics — edit the close dates to reopen the topics. But if you have concerns about other students feeling that you're giving this student an unfair advantage, have him post his work in a private topic. A private instructor's office is useful for this. Ask him to identify each assignment in the subject line of the post.)

CAUTION: If you decide to have the student post his work in a private topic, you will need to enter his grade for each late assignment in its original assignment topic.

To do this, just open the original assignment topic, then click the blue Grades button to open the grading interface. Even though the student did not post his late work in this topic, you can still use this interface to record his grade. I'd recommend making a note in the grades comment that the work was posted elsewhere. 

And then see what happens. Critique any work that comes in as quickly as you can. Grade as you would any other student’s work, but apply the grade penalty you spelled out. Maybe the student will pass — a win for everyone! Maybe not, but at least you gave him the chance to step up, however belatedly. Beyond that, it’s on him.

from my Inbox

I occasionally get messages from online instructors seeking advice on teaching issues. I review their class, think through the problem, and do my best to offer them a workable solution and relevant resources. When it (finally) occurred to me that other teachers might have similar concerns, I decided to post some of these questions and answers here. I hope you find them helpful! If you need help or advice or support with online teaching, please drop me a line (

Have you ever had a similar issue in your online classes? How did you handle things? What do you think of this advice? Do you have other suggestions? Please post a comment and share your thoughts!

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We have updated the Notes drawing tools to correct an issue that some users have experienced when using the line and arrow tool.

Watch this brief tutorial to see the details.

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PHOTOS: Jenny Michael

The Academy will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday from Thursday, November 23, through Sunday, November 26.

Online instructors and students are NOT expected to be in their online classes during this period.

NOTE: These days are NOT part of the blackout time for part-time instructor work, however, so you may choose to work and report your hours as usual on these days.

Since the Module 12 deadline falls during this break, we strongly suggest that you extend the deadline for your Module 12 topics, to allow students some extra time to complete and submit their work. (How much additional time you allow is up to you.)

NOTE: In Art Experience classes (in the Pre-College program), the Module 7 deadline also falls during this break. Be sure to set your Module 7 topics to close after the 26th.

Here's how: Simply edit your topics (course topics and global topics) and adjust the due and close dates.

  • Course Topics

     Click here to expand...

    1. Navigate to your Pending Topics page, and click the "Edit" link next to any Module 12 topic.

    2. Change the close date and due date (for assignments). Then click the "Submit" button to post your updates.

  • Global Topics

     Click here to expand...

    1. Navigate to your Global Topics page, and click the "Edit" link next to any Module 12 topic.

    2. Change the close date and due date (for assignments). Then click the "Submit" button to post your updates.

And don't forget to let your students know about this schedule change (by posting an announcement or creating an informational topic — or using whatever means you prefer to communicate important information).

Happy Thanksgiving! 

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Teaching Library Overview

In this library, you will find a wide range of resources to support your work as an online instructor at the Academy of Art University, including:

  • supplemental teaching materials, including tutorials, checklists, cheat-sheets, sample files, and more.

Learn more about what's available here by watching our tutorial.

The Online Teaching Library will grow over time, so please check back often to see what's new here. 

Browse the Online Teaching Blog

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About Me

Jenny Michael
Associate Director, Instructional Review & Improvement

I’ve been training and supporting online teachers at the Academy since 2004. My focus is on ensuring the success of our online instructors, and my work overlaps with that of Faculty Development in many ways. I've developed numerous resources for online instructors, including trainings on Course Development and Teaching Online, workshops (online and in-person), along with this library of teaching materials. I also created and manage the online coaching program — and I'm an online instructor myself. (I developed and occasionally teach the online French class.)

I earned a Ph.D. in Folklore & Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania. My particular areas of interest are in traditional art and other aspects of material culture, including foodways, dress and adornment. I also hold a Master's degree from U.C. Berkeley and a B.A. from Stanford University. I have taught numerous courses in folklore, anthropology, American studies, and writing at various institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania, University of Delaware, Drexel University, Indiana University, University of San Francisco, and U.C. Berkeley.

Want to get in touch with me? Here's how:

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  1. This is great Jenny! I love the new organization and the recent postings...thanks and I look forward to checking in during the fall. Also really like the suggestions about wrapping up the semester.well. Great picture of you as well!

  2. I'm glad you like the changes, Christine! And thanks for the heads-up about the access issues. I don't understand what the problem is but will check back with our tech guru to see if we can figure this out...

  3. I think we have sorted out the issue! If anyone is still having problems seeing the images here, please post a comment or drop me an email: Thanks!

  4. Nice, visual approach here! I love the ability to get the headlines or dig deeper. Constantly evolving. (smile)



  5. Nice work on the revised Layout and design Jenny. It's great to have immediate access for all of the newest content. With such a wealth of information keeping it organized makes all the difference, you're amazing!

  6. I love this! Really great visuals and wonderful information! 

  7. Jenny, thank you for the suggestions about inviting student feedback.  I have always done this but from a narrower perspective.  Just putting it out there and asking directly, " How can I do better?" is great!  In the interest of full disclosure, I used your questions and created a new topic that will be open for Modules 14 and 15.  


    1. I will be interested to know how that works for you, Ellie!

  8. I too appreciate the idea of inviting student feedback. I know they grade us in their own way and understanding their perceptions has to help one teach better. I wish I had done that directly in my classes last semester on site. Instead, I just tried to wheedle it out of them....

  9. I love all this information because help me to understand what to expect from the instructors! Such a great resource!
    Thank you Jennifer!

  10. Hello everyone, I am just playing around with the new interface to get familiar with it.

    Unfortunately the Markup window stays blank and nothing happens with the page, the only way is to click back to the previous page. I am on a Mac using Safari. Does anyone else got the same problem? Can you offer solution or suggestions?

    Thank you,


  11. Hello just getting started here but I see the 24 hour support will help me sleep well