I assigned 50 students to begin prewriting their argument essay. Tuesday, an outline was due. I told them what they turned in in class was only a fraction of their process, that they have to work on this outside of class. I had to miss class Tuesday so I changed the submission to an online one. Tuesday morning, after 4 days of complete silence and not a single question, I was bombarded with panicked emails from students who didn't 'know what you want!!!!!' and were 'worried to death' about their grades. Not worried enough to start more than an hour before it would've been due had I been there for class, I guess....That afternoon, more panic. And when all the dust settled, I got a grand total of 16, half of which were completely wrong and earned instant zeros.
And when I limp in tomorrow, I will be bombarded with excuses, most trying to blame me, the rest claiming the work was sent and somehow disappeared in cyberspace. It's one thing to ask for or need help. It's another to think that 2 days after the assignment is due is the right time to ask for help.