designing digital assessments how do we approach incorporating these assignments into our courses?

1. What are your assignment objectives?

You want to make sure that you choose a technology that will help achieve the objectives of your assessment instead of forcing the assessment to fit into the technology you want to leverage.

Some questions you might want to consider include:

  1. What kind of content do you want the students to curate and share? Narrative text? Brief text? Static images? Video? Statistics, charts, and graphs? Links? The format of the content can influence what technology or project type will work best.
  2. How do you want the audience for the final product to interact with the content? Will they merely view it, or should the final product involve audience interaction?

2. How will you inform students of your expectations?

A project with clear instructions and a concise rubric is important. You can see an example of an infographic rubric linked below. (Note that it includes assessment for both content and design of the infographic).

3. How will you scaffold the process for students?

You might:

  1. Show students examples of similar projects. Ask students to reflect upon what makes the design of the examples effective or ineffective at communicating their overall message(s).
  2. Ask students to draw or storyboard a rough draft of the project before they begin creating using technology.
  3. If students are asked to create a rough draft, it might be useful to leverage this opportunity to introduce some peer review. Their classmates could provide feedback on the drafts before final drafts are created.
  4. Create an opportunity for students to test out the technology without the pressure of handing in a big project, perhaps by having them create something small for only a few points.

Professor Derek Bruff from Vanderbilt University shares some of his statistics infographic project proposal instructions:

"To prepare my students for their infographic assignment, I first asked them to find examples of well-design infographics ... I asked asked them to read “Ending the Infographic Plague” by Atlantic editor Megan McArdle."

...or watch another instructor's reflection about their infographic process

4. How will you encourage students to reflect on the process?

This may be the first time a student has tried to create a video, infographic, or other creative, yet informational product; sometimes, they don't always turn out as planned! It's important to let the students reflect on the process as well as the product so they can explain the thinking behind their decisions.

Consider providing:

  1. Guided questions for students to answer in their reflections
  2. Reflection requirements that ask the students to reflect on both their process and their product

Student reflection example

As noted above, Derek Bruff had his students create infographics in teams. Once they were finished, they also had to turn in a reflection, which he called a "designer's statement," that consisted of the following:

Additionally, your team should submit a 400-to-600-word “designer’s statement” to me. This statement will not be posted to the blog, but it will be considered alongside your infographic during grading. Your designer’s statement should address the following questions:

  1. How do you think the visual elements of your infographic helped you communicate your project?
  2. What aspects of your project were most challenging to communicate in your infographic?
  3. What advice would you give future Math 216 students for completing the application project successfully?
Created with images by StartupStockPhotos - "startup start-up notebooks" • Tioooo - "sketch book signs" • Unsplash - "notebook paper page"

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