Giving students extra credit opportunities is one of the few instructional practices about which many who teach have strong feelings—mostly on one side or the other of its legitimacy. But at The Teaching Professor, we think there’s more involved than whether it’s right or wrong, and we’d love your help as we explore why. Here are some options to guide your responses.
Share your views. Yes, you can tell us if you’re for or against it—be sure to say why—but we think the role of extra credit is more contextual. It depends on how it fits with the course goals and objectives, what students are doing to earn it, how much it counts for, and the relationship between extra credit and course content. These contextual factors gain clarity when we look at specific examples. We’ve come up with four scenarios.
What issues do you see with each of these scenarios? What are their implications, and what questions and concerns do they raise for you? What benefits might accrue, and at what costs? Be welcome to comment on any or all of these. You may even craft your own scenario, and we’ll share it for response as time permits.
Share your extra credit assignment. If you use extra credit activities, please share what you have your students do. Concrete examples are interesting and helpful. Submit copies of the extra credit options as it they appear on your syllabi. Be welcome to add commentary describing the activities’ origins and your assessments of what they contribute to learning in your courses.
Syllabus statements describing “no extra credit” policies are also welcome, especially if they outline the reasons for the policy.
Write an article. As always, we welcome outside contributions. Has your thinking about extra credit evolved, changed? Why are students so enamored with it? If you’d like to explain, explore, or otherwise address extra credit issues, please do so. Here’s the website link to our submission guidelines: https://www.teachingprofessor.com/about-us/submission-guidelines.
Please submit this material to Maryellen Weimer at firstname.lastname@example.org by June 30, 2020. (Please respect the deadline. In all likelihood we will be unable to use material submitted after it.) And thanks in advance. We look forward to hearing from you.