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Teaching/Learning Center

Writing Assignment Prompts

Writing Successful Assignment Prompts

- the key is to provide clear and direct communication to your students. 

- keep it concise and focused.

- consider what they need to know to complete the assignment.

- think about what type of work you want to see and go from there.

- consider including a step guide if assignment is complex.

 

Avoid:

- long and complicated explanations.

 

Resource: How Do I Create Meaningful Assignments?

 

Features of Effective Assignment Prompts:

  1. explains what you want them to do (the task + procedure)
  2. provides the purpose + goals (why this assignment is important)
  3. includes specific format information
  4. includes grading criteria like a rubric so students are aware of instructor expectations

More Top Tips

From: "Pedagogy Unbound: How to Make Your Assignments Better

  • Offer both a big-picture and a close-up view of the assignment at the outset.
  • Show examples, and keep them online
  • Teach students how to complete the assignment
  • "Dogfood" (test) your own assignments

Student Level

Consider the student level. Beginning students may need more direction and guidance. For intermediate or advanced students, you want to allow students more freedom and flexibility to develop their own topics and encourage more critical thinking. 

 

Online resource for creative writing prompts.

Building a Syllabus

Your Academic Department will provide you with a custom syllabus template that includes specific information they would like you to incorporate

Here are some helpful how-to resources for building a syllabus.

  •  Lynda.com tutorial on how to write a syllabus.

Developing Learning Objectives

Step 1: Pick your type of knowledge

Types of knowledge are categorized on the knowledge dimension from concrete to abstract.  The major categories are factual, conceptual, procedural and metacognitive.  See the pdf for more details.

Step 2: Pick your verb

Verbs correspond with different levels of cognitive processing and are categorized from lower order thinking skills to higher order thinking skills.  The major categories are to remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and create.

Step 3: Use the chart to track learning objectives

No more than four learning objectives should be used at a time.  Objectives should include both lower level and higher level cognitive processing as well as concrete and abstract knowledge types.  

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