Why Bonus Passes Work

As we’ve started to progress through the semester, I have realized that it would be good to give students a way to work around difficult situations. You know what these situations look like. You get sick. You’re exhausted. You meant to do the work but, like I just said, you’re exhausted. You went to do the work and had some kind of technical difficulty and then the deadline passed.

It’s not like these sorts of things are running rampant in my class. They’re not. But I thought I would work in some bonus passes that students could use at their discretion (or not at all) to get out of difficult or frustrating events. The idea behind bonus passes is simple. It’s a pass you can use, without judgement, to extend deadlines or get something extra out of the class. The following are examples I have utilized so far this semester:

Break the Lock

Did you miss a deadline? Any deadline at all? Do you wish you could go back in time and finish up a quest? With this pass you can! Break the Lock allows you to literally break the lock on the deadline. You:

  • Select anything you want to do that you can no longer get XP for
  • Finish it up
  • Submit it

Things to Know:

  • Tell me your work is available so I can go look at it/score it
  • You get full credit no matter when you complete the quest and no matter when the deadline was!
  • Specify that you are using this pass (just email me)

Related: Teacher as Designer


Break the Lock (50%)

Same as above but you only get 50% of the original XP.

Get Out of Tech

Did you have a technical difficulty? Did it result in you not being able to meet a deadline? No worries! I will extend the deadline by 24 hours. You do not need to justify yourself. Just let me know you want to apply this pass.

Create Your Own Challenge

Do you have an idea for a challenge? Bypass my ideas and do your own! The challenge must relate to the class in some way. It can be a weekly challenge (50,000 XP minimum) or you can do an extended challenge that takes weeks to do. I’ll adjust the XP for extended challenges as appropriate. Message me your idea and get it approved before you start. Otherwise you won’t get any XP. No whammies!

Related: Bonus Pass You Tube Video

Things to Notice

Most of these passes are about extending deadlines in some fashion or another. Only one is about creating an experience for yourself to learn from. I do weekly challenges with my students. I used to do these challenges in class during F2F sessions, but I’ve revamped them and moved them into the online sphere. I want the challenges to be meaningful to my students, but they do have to relate to the class. If they have an idea, I am happy to work with them, and I am even fine if it is an extended challenge that takes multiple weeks to do. I think students can really get something out of the class if they can enact a learning experience for themselves.

For passes that extend deadlines, no explanation is required on the part of the student. All a student has to do is tell me they are using a particular pass, and I mark it as being used on their spreadsheet. I am not interested in playing judge and jury. Students have multiple passes – three is more than enough – and if the legitimately need more then they probably have a serious issue going on that requires documentation and other kinds of support. On the flip side, I won’t give extra assignments or entertain any ideas for earning points beyond what is on here. That conversation is killed instantly simply by having bonus passes. That said, I would be happy to hear ideas students might have for potential bonus passes.

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