Linking Assignments to Course Outcomes
Whether you’re teaching onsite or online, it is critical to communicate clear expectations for every assignment, large or small. Students also benefit when teachers explain the larger purpose or goal of an individual assignment. How, for example, will three small assignments help a student successfully complete the larger project due at the end of the class? What skills does a particular assignment help develop?
The key is to explicitly link your course outcomes to all of your assignments so students understand their context. Use a template that includes a written description of ALL the information your students will need to complete your assignments successfully.
By putting your assignments in writing, you won’t get caught giving instructions for assignments in the last few minutes of class while both you and your students may be distracted and overlook important details. Your students can easily share your expectations with Writing Lab tutors, ESL support teachers and ARC coaches. What’s more, you can post all your assignment sheets on the course website so students can download them ahead of time. Or post your assignments after each class so students who were absent won’t trouble you for the information during the week.
Adapt the following assignment template for any assignment or project:
|Assignment Name and Number
When is the assignment due?
How does this assignment fit in with the goals of your course? What will students learn or practice by completing the assignment?
What exactly will the students do?
- How are the students going to complete this assignment?
- What specific steps do students need to follow?
- What tips can you offer to help them succeed with this assignment?
- What common pitfalls can you alert them to?
- What tools, materials, readings, or software will they need to complete the assignment?
How will students turn in their work?
- Should they e-mail it to you?
- Do you prefer a hard copy?
- Should students matte, frame, format their work in a particular way?
- Where do they need to upload it?
- Are there labeling conventions you would like them to use? Be explicit.
|Prepare for discussion and/or critique
How will you expect students to apply what they’ve learned from the assignment? For example, you can ask students to:
- “Be prepared to share your experiences completing this assignment in small groups during the first five minutes of class.”
- “Prepare for a brief quiz in class on the material included in this assignment.”
- “Be prepared to present your work in front of the whole class during the critique. Rehearse what you will say.”
- “Be prepared to compare your responses to this assignment in small groups.”
How will you evaluate students’ work? Provide a rubric or list of criteria to make the distinction between what you consider acceptable and unacceptable work. Provide examples if possible.
Another assignment template idea
Rubrics for Assessment and Grading
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