Considerations for Creating Effective Online Assignments Kim Kenward Instructional Designer, GVSU
5 Parts for Consideration Construct well-designed learning objectives Set clear expectations & detailed instructions Provide meaningful and timely feedback Include rubrics for assessment Allow students opportunities for reflection/feedback
Learning Objectives In an online or hybrid course, you will not see your students face-to-face, it is critical that you craft CLEAR statements about what you want your students to learn Learning objectives guide the online course development process Choice of course materials, assignments or activities, and assessments should all reflect the learning objectives Each element of the course should relate back to one or more of the learning objectives
Learning Objectives What do you want me to learn? Or, what is the purpose of the assignment? State exactly what you want them to learn from the assignment. If possible, provide an example or model of a successful assignment How does this assignment help your students achieve one or more of the course objectives? Make the reason very clear to your students
Setting Clear Expectations & Detailed Instructions Check assignments for clarity have another set of eyes review your instructions Instructions have to be as explicit as they are flawless Do your students have all the details necessary to properly interpret your assignment? Deadline/due dates Format of the assignment. Single spaced, APA format, minimum or maximum length What kind of thinking do you want to see in the assignment? Identifying information (name, project, course, etc) How will they submit their work to you (assignment manager, email attachment, discussion board) How will you provide them with feedback and return the assignment (oral feedback, written feedback, email, Grade Center, etc)
Tips for Meaningful & Timely Feedback Feedback is critical in an online environment Send personal email messages and include the students name in the email message Use Wimba voice for oral feedback, as well as occasional voice announcements Enable Wimba pronto (for instant messaging and conducting virtual office hours) Include a wrap-up thread in your discussion board postings Use the private journal in Blackboard to private instructor feedback and student reflection Administer a Bb survey for anonymous feedback on the course or as a follow-up to major assignments
Personal Email Messages
Send personal email messages and include the students name in the email message
Did you know you can even send email from the Grade Center? This is a great time saver!
Wimba Voice You can easily add voice in Blackboard . You can even add oral comments in the Grade center! Just look for the mashup icon in your toolbar, select Wimba Voice and make sure you have a microphone Mashup icon
Wimba Pronto Use Wimba Pronto to conduct virtual office hours or to allow students to work collaboratively. This tool allows for screen sharing, video/audio capabilities, text chatting and more. You can find a download for Pronto on the Blackboard Portal. Faculty must enable their Bb courses to use Pronto. See http://www.gvsu.edu/it/bbng for more information on getting started with Wimba Pronto.
DB Thread Although I wouldn’t recommend responding to each and every thread, in the beginning of an online/hybrid course, it’s good for your students to see YOU. They want to know if they are on the track and that their work is valued.
Bb Journal The Blackboard Campus Pack Journal is a private tool between student and instructor. It’s a great tool for reflection and synthesis of course content. Instructors can leave written feedback within the journal entries.
Bb Survey Surveys are anonymous and are a great tool for receiving student feedback. You can find this tool under the Assessment tool bar.
Rubrics & Grading Criteria How will I be graded? Students need to know how much the assignment contributes to their course grade Develop a rubric that lists the criteria and assigns points for increasing levels of sophistication At minimum, develop a simple list of elements that are required in the assignment.
Assignment Feedback Allow your students to provide YOU with opportunities for reflection/feedback after completing major assignments Blackboard journal tool Blackboard survey Email message 1 minute paper to be included with the assignment
Other Good Practices.. When appropriate, give students choices Give them several options to pick from when completing an assignment Remind students of “what’s next” and upcoming due dates This might feel like spoon-feeding but it will help YOU and your students stay on task and organized Don’t change the schedule or alter due dates Making significant changes can cause major chaos Have good course design keep it clean, simple and straightforward. Use learning modules or folders to organize content
References Gilman, Todd. "Designing Effective Online Assignments." Chronicle of Higher Education (2010): n. pag. Web. 28 Jan 2011. <http://chronicle.com/article/Designing-Effective-Online-/64772/>.