Creating effective online assignments


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Creating effective online assignments

  1. 1. Considerations for Creating Effective Online Assignments<br />Kim Kenward<br />Instructional Designer, GVSU<br />
  2. 2. 5 Parts for Consideration<br />Construct well-designed learning objectives<br />Set clear expectations & detailed instructions<br />Provide meaningful and timely feedback<br />Include rubrics for assessment<br />Allow students opportunities for reflection/feedback <br />
  3. 3. Learning Objectives<br />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<br />Learning objectives guide the online course development process<br />Choice of course materials, assignments or activities, and assessments should all reflect the learning objectives<br />Each element of the course should relate back to one or more of the learning objectives<br />
  4. 4. Learning Objectives<br />What do you want me to learn? Or, what is the purpose of the assignment?<br />State exactly what you want them to learn from the assignment. <br />If possible, provide an example or model of a successful assignment<br />How does this assignment help your students achieve one or more of the course objectives?<br />Make the reason very clear to your students<br />
  5. 5. Setting Clear Expectations & Detailed Instructions<br />Check assignments for clarity <br />have another set of eyes review your instructions<br />Instructions have to be as explicit as they are flawless<br />Do your students have all the details necessary to properly interpret your assignment?<br />Deadline/due dates<br />Format of the assignment. Single spaced, APA format, minimum or maximum length<br />What kind of thinking do you want to see in the assignment?<br />Identifying information (name, project, course, etc)<br />How will they submit their work to you (assignment manager, email attachment, discussion board)<br />How will you provide them with feedback and return the assignment (oral feedback, written feedback, email, Grade Center, etc)<br />
  6. 6. Tips for Meaningful & Timely Feedback<br />Feedback is critical in an online environment<br />Send personal email messages and include the students name in the email message<br />Use Wimba voice for oral feedback, as well as occasional voice announcements<br />Enable Wimba pronto (for instant messaging and conducting virtual office hours)<br />Include a wrap-up thread in your discussion board postings<br />Use the private journal in Blackboard to private instructor feedback and student reflection<br />Administer a Bb survey for anonymous feedback on the course or as a follow-up to major assignments<br />
  7. 7. Personal Email Messages<br /><ul><li>Send personal email messages and include the students name in the email message
  8. 8. Did you know you can even send email from the Grade Center? This is a great time saver! </li></li></ul><li>Wimba Voice<br />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<br />Mashup icon<br />
  9. 9. Wimba Pronto<br />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. <br />You can find a download for Pronto on the Blackboard Portal. Faculty must enable their Bb courses to use Pronto. See for more information on getting started with Wimba Pronto.<br />
  10. 10. DB Thread<br />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.<br />
  11. 11. Bb Journal<br />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.<br />
  12. 12. Bb Survey<br />Surveys are anonymous and are a great tool for receiving student feedback. You can find this tool under the Assessment tool bar.<br />
  13. 13. Rubrics & Grading Criteria<br />How will I be graded?<br />Students need to know how much the assignment contributes to their course grade<br />Develop a rubric that lists the criteria and assigns points for increasing levels of sophistication<br />At minimum, develop a simple list of elements that are required in the assignment.<br />
  14. 14. Assignment Feedback<br />Allow your students to provide YOU with opportunities for reflection/feedback after completing major assignments<br />Blackboard journal tool<br />Blackboard survey<br />Email message<br />1 minute paper to be included with the assignment<br />
  15. 15. Other Good Practices..<br />When appropriate, give students choices<br />Give them several options to pick from when completing an assignment<br />Remind students of “what’s next” and upcoming due dates<br />This might feel like spoon-feeding but it will help YOU and your students stay on task and organized<br />Don’t change the schedule or alter due dates <br />Making significant changes can cause major chaos<br />Have good course design<br /> keep it clean, simple and straightforward. <br />Use learning modules or folders to organize content<br />
  16. 16. References<br />Gilman, Todd. "Designing Effective Online Assignments." Chronicle of Higher Education (2010): n. pag. Web. 28 Jan 2011. <>.<br />