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Thursday, June 18 • 3:00pm - 3:30pm
CON07.05 - The rewards (& risks) of alternative assignments for senior students

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In senior level English courses (3rd and 4th year), I have often provided an opportunity for students to submit a project – a “creative alternative” - in lieu of a formal essay. The rough criteria for these projects involves: 1. engaging with the course material; 2. being theoretically and intellectually rigorous and 3. presenting that engagement with the material in a creative way. Beyond those broad guidelines, students individually propose and negotiate their project’s format with the instructor. Historically, the benefits of this type of learner-centered approach have increased student motivation (Hong, Milgram, & Rowell, 2004), discouraged plagiarism (Cummings, 2003) and increased learning in traditionally difficult subjects (Guilaran, 2012). In my courses, students have turned in everything from quilts, to paintings, to cookbooks, to videos, to food…the list is as long as it is varied. The educational and personal reward (for the students and myself) has been outstanding, though there are some important pedagogical issues at stake, including how to establish the assessment criteria in an equitable manner and how to manage any overly-personal revelations that might occur. In attending this workshop, participants will be inspired by several examples of student’s creative projects; gain insight into how to incorporate them within their own discipline; learn about the types of educational and personal rewards that they offer; and dialogue about the various challenges they pose with emphasis on assessment criteria and negotiating difficult emotional terrain.

Hong, E., Milgram, R., & Rowell, L. (2004). Homework motivation and preference: a learner-centered homework approach. Theory into Practice, 43(3), 198-204. http://www.jstor.org.libproxy.wlu.ca/stable/3701521?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Cummings, K. (2003). Pushing against plagiarism through creative assignments. Library Media Connection. 21(6), 22-23. Cummings, K. (2003). Pushing against plagiarism through creative assignments. Library Media Connection. 21(6), 22-23.

Guilaran, I. (2012). Creativity and introductory physics. The Physics Teacher. 50(42), 42-44. http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.3670085

Thursday June 18, 2015 3:00pm - 3:30pm PDT
Thompson Room

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