Beyond Transactional Assignments: Prompting Meaningful Student Work

Credit: iStock.com/marchmeena29
Credit: iStock.com/marchmeena29
We all do it. The semester is drawing to a close, the students are tired, we’re tired. There’s one more assignment to hand out, that major project that’s supposed to somehow capture from the entirety of students’ learning from the past semester. Back in week 1, we had some glorious ideas for that assignment, but now that it’s week 11? Not so much. So the next day in class, we hand out what I’ve come to call The Generic Paper. Or The Generic Oral Presentation. Or The Generic Poster Presentation. You get the point. The genre and medium may change, but the prompt always begins the same way: “Choose a topic that interests you.”

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