Writing Better Assignments

Clarity eases the way for all

There are many elements to being a professional in your field. To us as professionals, these elements are so obvious that we don't feel the need to speak them. To students, however, particularly those who may the first in their families to attend college, those elements are invisible. This means that the "perfectly clear" assignment you provided is full of holes to the student. The result is completely inadequate work from your students, which is frustrating and time-consuming to grade.

Dr. Mary-Ann Winkelmes, of University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is examining the effect on student performance of more transparent assignments. Research from her Transparency in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education project (TILT Higher Ed) has found that clarifying just two assignments in a course had a significant effect in student engagement and sense of belonging. This effect extended beyond courses to across campus, leading to increases in retention. That last item will certainly interest your dean!

Let's work together to make some of your assignments more transparent or to create some new ones. Transparent assignments yield better submissions, which are easier to grade. They also trigger fewer confused emails from students.

Photo by Ridofranz/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by Ridofranz/iStock / Getty Images

Basic consultation package:

$250 for three hours + additional hours as needed at $80 per hour. Free 15-minute consultation to clarify your needs.

Contact Nora to schedule your consultation. We can work over the phone, in person, or via videoconferencing.