Engaging Students Through Alternatives to Written Assignments
To increase student engagement by allowing them to demonstrate knowledge by completing assignments and projects that are alternatives to written assignments
Benefits of Addressing
Research indicates that allowing students to demonstrate their knowledge by completing projects that incorporate technology-related elements, such as multimedia projects, have several benefits.
- Students completing multimedia assignments show enhanced engagement in learning by showing greater attention to details, embracing new challenges, and co-constructing curriculum. The encouragement for students to use their creativity also seems to result in a higher level of student motivation to learn. (Mitchell, 2003).
- When students are asked to complete projects that contain multimedia components, the assignments create rich opportunities and motivation for learning. (Kornkven & Lilleberg, 2002).
- With the infusion of technology, students learn new techniques for discovery and techniques for demonstrating the results of discovery. (Clayton-Pedersen & O'Neill, 2005).
- Assignments that incorporate technology can create personally meaningful learning opportunities.
- Multimedia and other technology-based assignments limit plagarism.
Alternative Assignment Ideas
There are several types of alternative assignments that you can assign.
- PowerPoint presentations are commonly assigned to students, but you can challenge the students to be creative with their presentations by incorporating graphics, photographs, videos, and audio clips into their presentations. Students can also use PowerPoint to produce narrated presentations that do not require live presentation.
- Digital stories allow students to creatively tell a story about what they've learned. Digital stories can take many forms. They may be videos produced by students. They could be a series of images shown in sequence with accompanying music or narration. They could include animations or graphics. More information on digital storytelling and examples are available from the
University of Houston.
- Interviews with experts or individuals in the community can demonstrate a student's knowledge of a topic through their questions and provide them with valuable perspectives. Video or audio-based interviews are possible.
- Websites can incorporate a variety of visual and auditory elements.
- Videos allow students to create visually rich presentations.
- Poster presentations give students a chance to visually demonstrate their knowledge without investing a lot of time and effort in multimedia technologies.
Resources are available on campus to assist students with completing alternative assignments.
- The ATC maintains an
equipment inventory that includes video cameras, digital cameras, digital audio recorders, and tripods that students can check out for academic-related work.
- The Movie Lab on the third floor of Gordon Library has PCs with animation, graphic, desktop publishing, and video editing software.
- The ATC has a video editing suite that is used by staff during the work day, but can be available to students after regular work hours, with prior arrangement.
- Students have personal Web spaces available for their use. Students can refer to
Creating Your Homepage for details.
If you will be requiring students to create a website, it is a good idea to
contact the Helpdesk ahead of time to alert them that they may be getting
requests for help from students. The Helpdesk may be able to provide customized
information for your students.
- The ATC will provide customized instruction for your students on how to use
digital cameras and produce videos, audio clips, and other forms of multimedia.
Contact the ATC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The ATC offers Poster Design Tips and does poster printing.
Clayton-Pedersen, A. & N. O'Neill. (2005). Curricula Designed to Meet 21st-Century Expectations. In D. Oblinger and J. Oblinger (Eds.), Educating the Net Generation (pp. 9.1-9.16). EDUCAUSE. Retrieved April 25, 2007, from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/pub7101i.pdf
Kornkven, S. & N. Lilleberg. (2002). Enhancing Support and Learning Services for Instructors and Students Who Engage in Course-Related Multimedia and Web Projects. SIGUCCS'02 proceedings, pp. 56-59. Retrieved April 25, 2007, from http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=588659&dl=GUIDE&coll=GUIDE&CFID=15151515&CFTOKEN=6184618
Mitchell, M. (2003). Constructing Multimedia: Benefits of Student-Generated Multimedia on Learning. Interactive Multimedia Electronic Journal of Computer-Enhanced Learning. Retrieved April 25, 2007, from http://imej.wfu.edu/articles/2003/1/03/index.asp
Last modified: Apr 25, 2007, 13:35 EDT