In this Challenge we’ll look at providing options for students to demonstrate understanding by doing something other than an essay or a research paper.
As always, you must consider what the goals of the activity are. What should the students learn from it? How will you measure that?
For this challenge, think about a paper based assignment that you have either assigned or had to write as a student. Now, imagine representing the learning in a completely different way.
Here are some suggestions:
- A video documentary
- A photo essay
- An audio recording (an interview perhaps)
- A play/ puppet show
- A public event
Some students will love the idea of trying something different and others may prefer to write papers. It’s possible to give them options but the assessment must be fair – for example: how do you assess a puppet show and a paper on the same topic?
Depending on the level of academic rigor you require, alternate assignments could include:
- Annotated bibliography
- Short descriptions and rationales
Anything that will help you determine if the outcomes have been met.
Things to Consider:
If you are going to require a multi-media assignment, think about the skill level of your students. Don’t overburden them. Look at some of the challenges in the ‘Creating with Media’ Challenge bank and see if you can find some easy to use tools with good tutorials. Practice with them yourself first.
Really examine your assessment strategies so that you can feel confident in assessing different types of work.
Here are some examples of Alternate Assignments:
: A master’s thesis in International Communications by Darcy Turenne
Business Students doing traditional assignments in a different way. It worked so well, the instructor had his classroom students do it too.
Environmental Studies Students using wikis to work with the community on solving real issues.
We will also see these examples in Flipped Assessments and the Alternate Assessment Studio
Choose a paper style assignment that you use, are thinking about using, or have been assigned and provide options for alternative ways for students to complete the work. Check the learning outcomes for your chosen paper and try to assess the alternate options. Do you need to revise your outcomes to accommodation these new possibilities? Share your idea for an alternate assessment and what a student would have to submit to achieve the outcomes.
Example for "Beyond the Paper":