Countdown Timers for Online Work

My Professional Writing course operates on a mostly-self-paced model this term, with students allowed to complete 770 of 1000 possible points up until the last minute.

To encourage a healthy pace as we stare down the home stretch — we are less than 30 days away from the deadline — I set up a free countdown timer via at http://www.timeanddate.com/clocks/freecountdown.html.

The process was simple. I set my time zone and the day of reckoning. Then I could choose from 3 HTML formats (with as many color choices as there are codes) or over a dozen Flash-based backgrounds. I went with the expanded timer that counts down by seconds, only because it’s more dramatic. I was able to customize the message and size of the actual timer, which uses iframe coding that is easy to copy-n-paste into my LMS.

Purple countdown timer example that shows work is due in 29 days 7 hours 48 minutes and 50 seconds

Will this make a difference in how quickly students complete their remaining tasks or in how many assignments get submitted? I hope so, as I am a fan of anything that encourages completion.

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