Teaching Commons > Teaching Guides > Assignment Design > Strategies

Assignment Design Strategies

  • Student smiling at someone while they are talking.
    Clearly link each assignment to the course goals and learning objectives.
  • Aim the assignment just slightly above students' current expertise.
  • Break large, high-stakes assignments into multiple, low-stakes assignments.
  • Identify resources required for the assignment and make them readily available.
    • Link directly to assignment readings (in your course reserves, for example)
    • Provide model responses to the assignment from previous students whose permission you've received to anonymously share their work. Make sure to take time to discuss these models with your students in class: be explicit about what makes them successful.
  • Design assignments around real-world issues and events to engage and motivate students.
  • Provide grading guidelines for the assignment in the form of rubrics and examples of acceptable and unacceptable work.
  • Provide supporting structures - templates, peer review, examples, multiple drafts, guidelines for library research, etc.
    • As students achieve greater levels of competency and expertise, fewer of these supports may be neccessary.
  • Revise assignments for next term based on student performance and feedback. Does each assignment develop student expertise in line with course learning goals?
  • Consider how you can create assignments that deter plagiarism.  Remember to include plagiarism, re-write and late work policies in your syllabus.