Slides from our first meeting of three from a course redesign series on creating non-disposable assignments.
Do you want to offer students an opportunity to bring their passions, personal interests, and individual strengths into their coursework?
How can we design assessment which students feel connected to, value, and are proud to share with their peers?
Are you interested in learning how to create a non-disposable assignment for your students?
This 3-part assignment redesign workshop will take you through the steps to create a non-disposable assignment from beginning to end.
Disposable Assignments: "are assignments that students complain about doing and faculty complain about grading. They’re assignments that add no value to the world – after a student spends three hours creating it, a teacher spends 30 minutes grading it, and then the student throws it away” (Wiley, 2013).
This series is about creating a non-disposable assignment. The three sessions will blend a combination of some pre-reading, discussion, and in session time to flesh out the details of a rich assignment that allows students to co-create knowledge, be creative and engage in a personalised learning experience.
We’ll focus on crafting projects which meet your existing or redesigned course learning outcomes, explore tools for students to demonstrate their learning, and identify strategies for conducting peer-review. In the end you’ll end up with plan for implementing your redesigned assignment in Spring 2018 or Fall 2018.
Throughout the three-part workshop we will also be collectively exposing our own learnings to others in the group through a live reflection and blogging site to support our work. We hope faculty can attend all three parts as they are planned with the intent you are coming for the whole series.
The Non-Disposable Assignment: Enhancing Personalised Learning - Session 1
Michael Paskevicius & Liesel Knaack
Centre for Innovation and Excellence in
Welcome and orientation (5 minutes)
Brainstorm and discussion: What makes an assignment memorable, meaningful, and important (10
Overview of the disposable assignment and student centred learning (15 minutes)
Activity: Examining the models for non-disposable assignments (10 minutes)
What tools are available? (5 minutes)
Examples from the wild and faculty reflections (10 minutes)
Introducing our live reflection space (5 minutes)
Activity (think pair share) and discussion: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to this
approach? (10 minutes)
Next steps, deliverables, and questions (15 minutes)
Think back to an
assignment you did
while in school (at any
level) that you still
remember as significant
Write down two
keywords which describe
What if we changed these “disposable assignments” into activities which actually
added value to the world? Then students and faculty might feel different about the
time and effort they invested in them. I have seen time and again that they do feel
different about the efforts they make under these circumstances.
These are assignments that students complain about doing and faculty complain
about grading. They’re assignments that add no value to the world – after a student
spends three hours creating it, a teacher spends 30 minutes grading it, and then the
student throws it away.
Jhangiani, J. (2015) Douglas College PD Event: The Desirable and Inevitable Shift Towards Open Pedagogy and Open Science. Retrieved from
Which of these visual
models is most useful in
guiding us towards
The non-disposable assignment is impossible without
the permissions granted by open licenses allowing:
multimedia from the
web to form creative
to engage real world
Challenging students to
become an active
producer of knowledge
in the open
What tools are available locally?
Web-based tools to support personalization (heaps)
Bower’s (2016) typology of Web 2.0
Peer review and collaborative writing
“raises the bar for them. If they’re
writing just for me, and I don’t take
this personally, they don’t put in
sometimes quite as much effort as if
their peers are going to read what
they wrote. So it raises for some of
them their level of engagement and
I created a non-disposable visual
portfolio for students to document and
follow their progress as well as observe
and contribute feedback to their peers.
The goal was also to complete the
course with a set of assignments that
showcases their learning and
outcomes in an accessible and visually
Surprisingly user engagement
was quite active with parents,
friends, and people from other
countries commenting on posts
and starting interesting
discussions. I think the students
found that really rewarding that
it went beyond the needs of
meeting a course requirement.
Throughout our workshops you
will be invited to reflect openly
on our workshop website. Feel
free to share thoughts on the
design considerations, useful
resources, apprehensions, or
What strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and
threats come with this approach?
Bower, M. (2016). Deriving a Typology of Web 2.0 Learning Technologies. British Journal of Educational Technology,
47(4), 763–777. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12344
Bass, R., & Elmendorf, H. (2009). Social Pedagogies - Teagle Foundation White Paper. Retrieved 9 May 2017, from
Hegarty, B. (2015). Attributes of Open Pedagogy: A Model for Using Open Educational Resources. EDUCATIONAL
Hendricks, C. (2015). Non-Disposable Assignments in Intro To Philosophy. You're The Teacher: Teaching & Learning,
and SoTL, in Philosophy, August 18, 2015. http://blogs.ubc.ca/chendricks/2015/08/18/non-disposable-assignments-
Hendricks, C., Fields, E., Engle, W., Underhill, C., & Wright, L. (2017). Engaging Students in Open Scholarly Practice.
Open Education Week 2017 Event. University of British Columbia (UBC).
Wiley, D. (2013). What is Open Pedagogy? Iterating Toward Openness Blog, October 21, 2013.
• Write a reflective post about what stood out
most from our session
• Start thinking about an assignment you
would like to redesign or create fueled by the
principles of the non-disposable assignment
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Prepared by: Michael Paskevicius
Learning Technologies Application Developer
Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning
Follow me: http://twitter.com/mpaskevi
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
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