The struggle is real : a quantitative study of student timeliness to complete assignments in online courses.


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Online learning has become a norm for college students in a world of ever-increasing online opportunities (Palvia et al., 2018). However, the adaption of education on the internet platform, with its inherent asynchronous nature, challenges students and causes them to delay completing online assignments (Balkis et al., 2013; Burnam et al., 2014; Dunn, 2014; Hensley, 2014; Klassen et al., 2008; Michinov et al., 2011; Steel, 2007). It does not take a global pandemic, as in 2020, to create scenarios of online students balancing work, home, and education, potentially causing delays in completing their assignments. For some students, temporary external factors cause the delay, but for others, postponing work until the last hour is an enduring habit (Steel 2007). Dunlosky et al. (2013) suggested that task delay resulted in cramming and reduced material retention. This quantitative study examined the correlation between student academic success (grades) and task delay. It also investigated the impact on course grades at different submission time intervals approaching the due date.

This quantitative study examined the correlation between student academic success (course grades) and task delay in a non-major online science course using Pearson’s r and linear regression splines. Unlike other research on grades and task delays based on students’ biased self-evaluations, this study collected the submission times and grades for weekly assignments directly from the learning management system in a traditional online course. In addition, using statistical transformations, the study related course grades to submission times. At the same time, linear regression splines examined the impact on students’ course grades at 48, 36, 24, and 12-hour intervals before the due date. The study revealed a timeframe for online assignment submission, potentially leading to success.

The results indicated a statistically significant moderate negative correlation between submission times and the points deducted from course grades. The results also uncovered that there was no considerable difference in the average grades, with an average submission time between 24–48 hours before the due date. The researcher argues that students who turn in the online material an average of 24–48 hours in advance pass the course.