For the next semester, I'd like to give students a reflection exercise after their first assignment -- specifically to confirm that they can access the feedback I leave in the online homework system. However, it seems like a blocker in the case of students who simply skip the initial assignment. What are the best options for handling this kind of situation?
A little more detail: I give programming (sometimes math) assignments weekly, collected and graded via our online learning management system. There's an online rubric attached to each assignment, with gradations checked off in several categories, as well as custom-written feedback from myself to each student. How to access this feedback is presented both in class and via handouts.
Unfortunately, it's nonetheless commonplace in the last few weeks of any semester for one or more students to interact with me and wind up saying, "oh, I never knew there was feedback on the assignments" (so apparently it's been a waste of time for me to do it). My thought for the upcoming semester is to have a reflection exercise immediately after the first assignment in which students access the feedback, prove that to me, and make some improvement based on that. But what should be done if a student skips the initial assignment, such that there isn't any grade or feedback in the first place?