- Help Center
- Terms of Service
- Submit feedback
- Organize and communicate with your class
- Create assignments
Create an assignment
This article is for teachers.
When you create an assignment, you can post it immediately, save a draft, or schedule it to post at a later date. After students complete and turn in their work, you can grade and return it to the students.
Open all | Close all
Create & post assignments
When you create an assignment, you can:
- Select one or more classes
Select individual students
Add a grade category, add a grading period, change the point value, add a due date or time, add a topic, add attachments, add a rubric.
- Turn on originality reports
Go to classroom.google.com and click Sign In.
- Enter the title and any instructions.
You can continue to edit and customize your assignment. Otherwise, if you’re ready, see below to post, schedule, or save your assignment .
Select additional classes
Assignments to multiple classes go to all students in those classes.
- Create an assignment (details above).
Unless you’re selecting multiple classes, you can select individual students. You can’t select more than 100 students at a time.
- Click a student's name to select them.
Use grade categories to organize assignments. With grade categories, you and your students can see the category an assignment belongs to, such as Homework or Essays . Teachers also see the categories on the Grades page.
For more information on grade categories, go to Add a grade category to posts or Set up grading .
To organize assignments and grades into your school or district’s grading structure, create grading periods, such as quarters or semesters.
- From the menu, select a grading period.
Tip: Before adding a grading period to an assignment, create a grading period for the class first. Learn how to create or edit grading periods .
You can change the point value of an assignment or make the assignment ungraded. By default, assignments are set at 100 points.
- Under Points , click the value.
- Enter a new point value or select Ungraded .
By default, an assignment has no due date. To set a due date:
- Click a date on the calendar.
- To create a topic, click Create topic and enter a topic name.
- Click a topic in the list to select it.
Note : You can only add one topic to an assignment.
Learn more about how to add topics to the Classwork page .
- Create an assignment.
- Important: Google Drive files can be edited by co-teachers and are view-only to students. To change these share options, you can stop, limit, or change sharing .
- To add YouTube videos, an admin must turn on this option. Learn about access settings for your Google Workspace for Education account .
- You can add interactive questions to YouTube video attachments. Learn how to add interactive questions to YouTube video attachments .
- Tip: When you attach a practice set to an assignment, you can't edit it.
- If you see a message that you don’t have permission to attach a file, click Copy . Classroom makes a copy of the file to attach to the assignment and saves it to the class Drive folder.
- Students can view file —All students can read the file, but not edit it.
- Students can edit file —All students share the same file and can make changes to it.
Note : This option is only available before you post an assignment.
Use an add-on
For instructions, go to Use add-ons in Classroom
For instructions, go to Create or reuse a rubric for an assignment .
For instructions, go to Turn on originality reports .
You can post an assignment immediately, or schedule it to post later. If you don’t want to post it yet, you can save it as a draft. To see scheduled and drafted assignments, click Classwork .
Post an assignment
- Follow the steps above to create an assignment.
- Click Assign to immediately post the assignment.
Schedule the assignment to post later
Scheduled assignments might be delayed up to 5 minutes after the post time.
- To schedule the same assignment across multiple classes, make sure to select all classes you want to include.
- When you enter a time, Classroom defaults to PM unless you specify AM.
- (Optional) Select a due date and topic for each class.
- (Optional) To replicate your selected time and date for the first class into all subsequent classes, click Copy settings to all .
- Click Schedule . The assignment will automatically post at the scheduled date and time.
After scheduling multiple assignments at once, you can still edit assignments later by clicking into each class and changing them individually.
Save an assignment as a draft
- Follow the steps above to create an assignment
You can open and edit draft assignments on the Classwork page.
Edits affect individual classes. For multi-class assignments, make edits in each class.
Note : If you change an assignment's name, the assignment's Drive folder name isn't updated. Go to Drive and rename the folder.
Edit a posted assignment
- Enter your changes and click Save .
Edit a scheduled assignment
- Enter your changes and click Schedule .
Edit a draft assignment
Changes are automatically saved.
- Assign it immediately (details above).
- Schedule it to post at a specific date and time (details above).
- Click a class.
You can only delete an assignment on the Classwork page.
If you delete an assignment, all grades and comments related to the assignment are deleted. However, any attachments or files created by you or the students are still available in Drive.
- Create or reuse a rubric for an assignment
- Create a quiz assignment
- Create a question
- Use add-ons in Classroom
- Create, edit, delete, or share a practice set
- Learn about interactive questions for YouTube videos in Google Classroom
Need more help?
Try these next steps:.
Teaching excellence & educational innovation, creating assignments.
Here are some general suggestions and questions to consider when creating assignments. There are also many other resources in print and on the web that provide examples of interesting, discipline-specific assignment ideas.
Consider your learning objectives.
What do you want students to learn in your course? What could they do that would show you that they have learned it? To determine assignments that truly serve your course objectives, it is useful to write out your objectives in this form: I want my students to be able to ____. Use active, measurable verbs as you complete that sentence (e.g., compare theories, discuss ramifications, recommend strategies), and your learning objectives will point you towards suitable assignments.
Design assignments that are interesting and challenging.
This is the fun side of assignment design. Consider how to focus students’ thinking in ways that are creative, challenging, and motivating. Think beyond the conventional assignment type! For example, one American historian requires students to write diary entries for a hypothetical Nebraska farmwoman in the 1890s. By specifying that students’ diary entries must demonstrate the breadth of their historical knowledge (e.g., gender, economics, technology, diet, family structure), the instructor gets students to exercise their imaginations while also accomplishing the learning objectives of the course (Walvoord & Anderson, 1989, p. 25).
After creating your assignments, go back to your learning objectives and make sure there is still a good match between what you want students to learn and what you are asking them to do. If you find a mismatch, you will need to adjust either the assignments or the learning objectives. For instance, if your goal is for students to be able to analyze and evaluate texts, but your assignments only ask them to summarize texts, you would need to add an analytical and evaluative dimension to some assignments or rethink your learning objectives.
Name assignments accurately.
Students can be misled by assignments that are named inappropriately. For example, if you want students to analyze a product’s strengths and weaknesses but you call the assignment a “product description,” students may focus all their energies on the descriptive, not the critical, elements of the task. Thus, it is important to ensure that the titles of your assignments communicate their intention accurately to students.
Think about how to order your assignments so that they build skills in a logical sequence. Ideally, assignments that require the most synthesis of skills and knowledge should come later in the semester, preceded by smaller assignments that build these skills incrementally. For example, if an instructor’s final assignment is a research project that requires students to evaluate a technological solution to an environmental problem, earlier assignments should reinforce component skills, including the ability to identify and discuss key environmental issues, apply evaluative criteria, and find appropriate research sources.
Think about scheduling.
Consider your intended assignments in relation to the academic calendar and decide how they can be reasonably spaced throughout the semester, taking into account holidays and key campus events. Consider how long it will take students to complete all parts of the assignment (e.g., planning, library research, reading, coordinating groups, writing, integrating the contributions of team members, developing a presentation), and be sure to allow sufficient time between assignments.
Is the workload you have in mind reasonable for your students? Is the grading burden manageable for you? Sometimes there are ways to reduce workload (whether for you or for students) without compromising learning objectives. For example, if a primary objective in assigning a project is for students to identify an interesting engineering problem and do some preliminary research on it, it might be reasonable to require students to submit a project proposal and annotated bibliography rather than a fully developed report. If your learning objectives are clear, you will see where corners can be cut without sacrificing educational quality.
Articulate the task description clearly.
If an assignment is vague, students may interpret it any number of ways – and not necessarily how you intended. Thus, it is critical to clearly and unambiguously identify the task students are to do (e.g., design a website to help high school students locate environmental resources, create an annotated bibliography of readings on apartheid). It can be helpful to differentiate the central task (what students are supposed to produce) from other advice and information you provide in your assignment description.
Establish clear performance criteria.
Different instructors apply different criteria when grading student work, so it’s important that you clearly articulate to students what your criteria are. To do so, think about the best student work you have seen on similar tasks and try to identify the specific characteristics that made it excellent, such as clarity of thought, originality, logical organization, or use of a wide range of sources. Then identify the characteristics of the worst student work you have seen, such as shaky evidence, weak organizational structure, or lack of focus. Identifying these characteristics can help you consciously articulate the criteria you already apply. It is important to communicate these criteria to students, whether in your assignment description or as a separate rubric or scoring guide . Clearly articulated performance criteria can prevent unnecessary confusion about your expectations while also setting a high standard for students to meet.
Specify the intended audience.
Students make assumptions about the audience they are addressing in papers and presentations, which influences how they pitch their message. For example, students may assume that, since the instructor is their primary audience, they do not need to define discipline-specific terms or concepts. These assumptions may not match the instructor’s expectations. Thus, it is important on assignments to specify the intended audience http://wac.colostate.edu/intro/pop10e.cfm (e.g., undergraduates with no biology background, a potential funder who does not know engineering).
Specify the purpose of the assignment.
If students are unclear about the goals or purpose of the assignment, they may make unnecessary mistakes. For example, if students believe an assignment is focused on summarizing research as opposed to evaluating it, they may seriously miscalculate the task and put their energies in the wrong place. The same is true they think the goal of an economics problem set is to find the correct answer, rather than demonstrate a clear chain of economic reasoning. Consequently, it is important to make your objectives for the assignment clear to students.
Specify the parameters.
If you have specific parameters in mind for the assignment (e.g., length, size, formatting, citation conventions) you should be sure to specify them in your assignment description. Otherwise, students may misapply conventions and formats they learned in other courses that are not appropriate for yours.
A Checklist for Designing Assignments
Here is a set of questions you can ask yourself when creating an assignment.
- Provided a written description of the assignment (in the syllabus or in a separate document)?
- Specified the purpose of the assignment?
- Indicated the intended audience?
- Articulated the instructions in precise and unambiguous language?
- Provided information about the appropriate format and presentation (e.g., page length, typed, cover sheet, bibliography)?
- Indicated special instructions, such as a particular citation style or headings?
- Specified the due date and the consequences for missing it?
- Articulated performance criteria clearly?
- Indicated the assignment’s point value or percentage of the course grade?
- Provided students (where appropriate) with models or samples?
Adapted from the WAC Clearinghouse at http://wac.colostate.edu/intro/pop10e.cfm .
CONTACT US to talk with an Eberly colleague in person!
- Get started with computers
- Learn Microsoft Office
- Apply for a job
- Improve my work skills
- Design nice-looking docs
- Getting Started
- Smartphones & Tablets
- Typing Tutorial
- Online Learning
- Basic Internet Skills
- Online Safety
- Social Media
- Zoom Basics
- Google Docs
- Google Sheets
- Career Planning
- Resume Writing
- Cover Letters
- Job Search and Networking
- Business Communication
- Entrepreneurship 101
- Careers without College
- Job Hunt for Today
- 3D Printing
- Freelancing 101
- Personal Finance
- Sharing Economy
- Graphic Design
- Image Editing
- Learning WordPress
- Language Learning
- Critical Thinking
- For Educators
- Staff Picks
- English expand_more expand_less
Google Classroom - Creating Assignments and Materials
Google classroom -, creating assignments and materials, google classroom creating assignments and materials.
Google Classroom: Creating Assignments and Materials
Lesson 2: creating assignments and materials.
Creating assignments and materials
Google Classroom gives you the ability to create and assign work for your students, all without having to print anything. Questions , essays , worksheets , and readings can all be distributed online and made easily available to your class. If you haven't created a class already, check out our Getting Started with Google Classroom lesson.
Watch the video below to learn more about creating assignments and materials in Google Classroom.
Creating an assignment
Whenever you want to create new assignments, questions, or material, you'll need to navigate to the Classwork tab.
In this tab, you can create assignments and view all current and past assignments. To create an assignment, click the Create button, then select Assignment . You can also select Question if you'd like to pose a single question to your students, or Material if you simply want to post a reading, visual, or other supplementary material.
This will bring up the Assignment form. Google Classroom offers considerable flexibility and options when creating assignments.
Click the buttons in the interactive below to become familiar with the Assignment form.
This is where you'll type the title of the assignment you're creating.
If you'd like to include instructions with your assignment, you can type them here.
Here, you can decide how many points an assignment is worth by typing the number in the form. You can also click the drop-down arrow to select Ungraded if you don't want to grade an assignment.
You can select a due date for an assignment by clicking this arrow and selecting a date from the calendar that appears. Students will have until then to submit their work.
In Google Classroom, you can sort your assignments and materials into topics. This menu allows you to select an existing topic or create a new one to place an assignment under.
You can attach files from your computer , files from Google Drive , URLs , and YouTube videos to your assignments.
Google Classroom gives you the option of sending assignments to all students or a select number .
Once you're happy with the assignment you've created, click Assign . The drop-down menu also gives you the option to Schedule an assignment if you'd like it to post it at a later date.
You can attach a rubric to help students know your expectations for the assignment and to give them feedback.
Once you've completed the form and clicked Assign , your students will receive an email notification letting them know about the assignment.
Google Classroom takes all of your assignments and automatically adds them to your Google Calendar. From the Classwork tab, you can click Google Calendar to pull this up and get a better overall view of the timeline for your assignments' due dates.
Using Google Docs with assignments
When creating an assignment, there may often be times when you want to attach a document from Google Docs. These can be helpful when providing lengthy instructions, study guides, and other material.
When attaching these types of files, you'll want to make sure to choose the correct setting for how your students can interact with it . After attaching one to an assignment, you'll find a drop-down menu with three options.
Let's take a look at when you might want to use each of these:
- Students can view file : Use this option if the file is simply something you want your students to view but not make any changes to.
- Students can edit file : This option can be helpful if you're providing a document you want your students to collaborate on or fill out collectively.
- Make a copy for each student : If you're creating a worksheet or document that you want each student to complete individually, this option will create a separate copy of the same document for every student.
On the Classwork tab, you can use topics to sort and group your assignments and material. To create a topic, click the Create button, then select Topic .
Topics can be helpful for organizing your content into the various units you teach throughout the year. You could also use it to separate your content by type , splitting it into homework, classwork, readings, and other topic areas.
In our next lesson , we'll explore how to create quizzes and worksheets with Google Forms, further expanding how you can use Google Classroom with your students.
- For Parents
- For Educators
- Sitio para padres
- General Health
- Growth & Development
- Diseases & Conditions
- Pregnancy & Baby
- Nutrition & Fitness
- Emotions & Behavior
- School & Family Life
- First Aid & Safety
- Doctors & Hospitals
- Expert Answers (Q&A)
- Parents Home
- Sitio para niños
- How the Body Works
- Puberty & Growing Up
- Staying Healthy
- Staying Safe
- Health Problems
- Illnesses & Injuries
- Relax & Unwind
- People, Places & Things That Help
- Sitio para adolescentes
- Sexual Health
- Food & Fitness
- Drugs & Alcohol
- School & Jobs
4 Ways to Make Homework Easier
- Listen Play Stop Volume mp3 Settings Close Player
- Larger text size Large text size Regular text size
Homework can seem overwhelming at times, especially in high school. One of the biggest challenges of being a high school student is learning how you work best — and this can look a little different for everyone.
Luckily, you can try many different strategies to find what works best for you.
1. Create a Homework Plan
Understand the assignment. Write it down wherever you keep track of your assignments, such as a notebook or an app on your phone. Don't be afraid to ask questions about what's expected. It's much easier to ask the teacher during or after class than to struggle to remember later that night. Consider asking your teachers how long they expect specific assignments to take.
Start as soon as you can. Use any free periods during your school day to start your homework. If you don’t have any free periods, take a few minutes to look at all your assignments during school so you have a chance to ask questions before you go home.
Budget your time. It’s normal for students to have a few hours of homework a night. If it's a heavy homework day, you'll need to devote more time to it. Try to come up with a homework schedule, especially if you're involved in extracurriculars or have an after-school job.
2. Find a Good Place to Work
When you settle down to study or do homework, where do you do it? Parked in front of the TV? In the kitchen, with other family members distracting you? Maybe these places worked when you were younger and homework was simpler, but your homework is probably more complicated now.
Find a place to focus. You'll do best if you can find a place to get away from distractions, like a bedroom or study. If your house is noisy no matter where you go, try searching online for study music, anything you find relaxing or inspiring. This can help drown out noise in your environment — just be mindful of the volume so you don’t hurt your ears.
Make sure you feel comfortable. Sit at a desk or table that’s comfortable, or try spreading out on the floor. It’s usually best to avoid your bed because you might get sleepy or have trouble sleeping later on. As long as you find a spot where you feel comfortable (and not tired), you’ll be able to focus.
3. Get to Work
Get in the right mood. If you start working while you feel stressed out, anxious, or otherwise in a bad mood, you may not get much done. Try practicing a mindfulness or breathing exercise before getting started, even just for a few minutes. These will help you focus better.
Decide where to start. Some people like to start with the easy assignments to get them out of the way, while others prefer to tackle the more challenging assignments first. Consider which strategy will work better for you. Try both and see if you notice a difference.
Keep moving. If you get stuck, try to figure out the problem, but don't spend too much time on it because you need time for your other assignments. If you need to, ask someone for help, like an adult or sibling. You could also text a classmate — just do your best to stay on topic.
Take breaks. Most people have short attention spans. Sitting for too long without stretching or relaxing will make you less productive than if you stop every so often. Taking a 15-minute break every hour is a good idea for most people. (If you're really concentrating, wait until it's a good time to stop.)
4. Get Help When You Need It
Even when you pay attention in class, study for tests, and do your homework, some subjects may still seem too hard. Don’t be afraid to ask for homework help — from teachers, counselors, friends, or family members. They'll respect your honesty and most are happy to help.
If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.
If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.
Khan for Educators (US)
Course: khan for educators (us) > unit 2, creating assignments on khan academy.
- Discover how teachers are using assignments
- Using assignments to support mastery learning
Why use assignments?
- Rigorous content: Our content is designed to keep students as close to their learning edge as possible with a balance of procedural, application, and conceptual question types.
- Instant feedback: Your students get instant feedback on every question, and you can keep track of their progress using the Scores and Manage tabs.
- Differentiate content: You can select videos, articles, single-skill practice, and mixed-skills practice to assign to an entire class or specific students based on their readiness level.
- Access anywhere: Your students can access their assignments on their smartphones, computer, or tablet, and our content is available in over 50 languages .
Use the Assign tab to create an assignment
- From your teacher dashboard: select the class you want to create an assignment.
- Click the Assign tab under Assignments and select the content you want the student(s) to work on using the checkboxes.
Use the Scores tab to track student progress on assignments
- Navigate to your class page and click on the "Scores" tab under Assignments
- Here, you'll see a list of all the assignments you've given to your class.
- From here, you can view individual student scores and whether a student has started, completed, or not started the assignment. - You can also see their score if the assignment has been completed.
- You can sort this list by due date.
- Notice that videos and articles receive a green check mark when the student has completed the assignment.
- To be marked complete, a student must watch at least 90% of the video at no greater than double speed.
Use the Manage tab to edit assignments
- Navigate to your class page and click on the "Manage" tab.
- Here, you'll see a list of all the assignments you've created for your class.
- Find the assignment you want to edit and click on it.
- You can change the assignment details, such as the due date, the students assigned, and more.
- You can delete the assignment by selecting the checkbox to the right of the assignment and then selecting the red Delete button near the top of the page.
Key things to know about assignments
- Students will see assignments listed in order by the due date.
- You can create assignments and save them for later or schedule assignments to go live for your classes on a specific date in the future.
- When new students join your class, they will automatically receive all assigned assignments but not yet due to the whole class.
- Students can engage in assignments in other languages (including Spanish, Portuguese, French, Turkish, and more) by changing the default language in their settings.
Want to join the conversation?
- Upvote Button navigates to signup page
- Downvote Button navigates to signup page
- Flag Button navigates to signup page
Teaching, Learning, & Professional Development Center
- Teaching Resources
- TLPDC Teaching Resources
How Do I Create Meaningful and Effective Assignments?
Prepared by allison boye, ph.d. teaching, learning, and professional development center.
Assessment is a necessary part of the teaching and learning process, helping us measure whether our students have really learned what we want them to learn. While exams and quizzes are certainly favorite and useful methods of assessment, out of class assignments (written or otherwise) can offer similar insights into our students' learning. And just as creating a reliable test takes thoughtfulness and skill, so does creating meaningful and effective assignments. Undoubtedly, many instructors have been on the receiving end of disappointing student work, left wondering what went wrong… and often, those problems can be remedied in the future by some simple fine-tuning of the original assignment. This paper will take a look at some important elements to consider when developing assignments, and offer some easy approaches to creating a valuable assessment experience for all involved.
First Things First…
Before assigning any major tasks to students, it is imperative that you first define a few things for yourself as the instructor:
- Your goals for the assignment . Why are you assigning this project, and what do you hope your students will gain from completing it? What knowledge, skills, and abilities do you aim to measure with this assignment? Creating assignments is a major part of overall course design, and every project you assign should clearly align with your goals for the course in general. For instance, if you want your students to demonstrate critical thinking, perhaps asking them to simply summarize an article is not the best match for that goal; a more appropriate option might be to ask for an analysis of a controversial issue in the discipline. Ultimately, the connection between the assignment and its purpose should be clear to both you and your students to ensure that it is fulfilling the desired goals and doesn't seem like “busy work.” For some ideas about what kinds of assignments match certain learning goals, take a look at this page from DePaul University's Teaching Commons.
- Have they experienced “socialization” in the culture of your discipline (Flaxman, 2005)? Are they familiar with any conventions you might want them to know? In other words, do they know the “language” of your discipline, generally accepted style guidelines, or research protocols?
- Do they know how to conduct research? Do they know the proper style format, documentation style, acceptable resources, etc.? Do they know how to use the library (Fitzpatrick, 1989) or evaluate resources?
- What kinds of writing or work have they previously engaged in? For instance, have they completed long, formal writing assignments or research projects before? Have they ever engaged in analysis, reflection, or argumentation? Have they completed group assignments before? Do they know how to write a literature review or scientific report?
In his book Engaging Ideas (1996), John Bean provides a great list of questions to help instructors focus on their main teaching goals when creating an assignment (p.78):
1. What are the main units/modules in my course?
2. What are my main learning objectives for each module and for the course?
3. What thinking skills am I trying to develop within each unit and throughout the course?
4. What are the most difficult aspects of my course for students?
5. If I could change my students' study habits, what would I most like to change?
6. What difference do I want my course to make in my students' lives?
What your students need to know
Once you have determined your own goals for the assignment and the levels of your students, you can begin creating your assignment. However, when introducing your assignment to your students, there are several things you will need to clearly outline for them in order to ensure the most successful assignments possible.
- First, you will need to articulate the purpose of the assignment . Even though you know why the assignment is important and what it is meant to accomplish, you cannot assume that your students will intuit that purpose. Your students will appreciate an understanding of how the assignment fits into the larger goals of the course and what they will learn from the process (Hass & Osborn, 2007). Being transparent with your students and explaining why you are asking them to complete a given assignment can ultimately help motivate them to complete the assignment more thoughtfully.
- If you are asking your students to complete a writing assignment, you should define for them the “rhetorical or cognitive mode/s” you want them to employ in their writing (Flaxman, 2005). In other words, use precise verbs that communicate whether you are asking them to analyze, argue, describe, inform, etc. (Verbs like “explore” or “comment on” can be too vague and cause confusion.) Provide them with a specific task to complete, such as a problem to solve, a question to answer, or an argument to support. For those who want assignments to lead to top-down, thesis-driven writing, John Bean (1996) suggests presenting a proposition that students must defend or refute, or a problem that demands a thesis answer.
- It is also a good idea to define the audience you want your students to address with their assignment, if possible – especially with writing assignments. Otherwise, students will address only the instructor, often assuming little requires explanation or development (Hedengren, 2004; MIT, 1999). Further, asking students to address the instructor, who typically knows more about the topic than the student, places the student in an unnatural rhetorical position. Instead, you might consider asking your students to prepare their assignments for alternative audiences such as other students who missed last week's classes, a group that opposes their position, or people reading a popular magazine or newspaper. In fact, a study by Bean (1996) indicated the students often appreciate and enjoy assignments that vary elements such as audience or rhetorical context, so don't be afraid to get creative!
- Obviously, you will also need to articulate clearly the logistics or “business aspects” of the assignment . In other words, be explicit with your students about required elements such as the format, length, documentation style, writing style (formal or informal?), and deadlines. One caveat, however: do not allow the logistics of the paper take precedence over the content in your assignment description; if you spend all of your time describing these things, students might suspect that is all you care about in their execution of the assignment.
- Finally, you should clarify your evaluation criteria for the assignment. What elements of content are most important? Will you grade holistically or weight features separately? How much weight will be given to individual elements, etc? Another precaution to take when defining requirements for your students is to take care that your instructions and rubric also do not overshadow the content; prescribing too rigidly each element of an assignment can limit students' freedom to explore and discover. According to Beth Finch Hedengren, “A good assignment provides the purpose and guidelines… without dictating exactly what to say” (2004, p. 27). If you decide to utilize a grading rubric, be sure to provide that to the students along with the assignment description, prior to their completion of the assignment.
A great way to get students engaged with an assignment and build buy-in is to encourage their collaboration on its design and/or on the grading criteria (Hudd, 2003). In his article “Conducting Writing Assignments,” Richard Leahy (2002) offers a few ideas for building in said collaboration:
• Ask the students to develop the grading scale themselves from scratch, starting with choosing the categories.
• Set the grading categories yourself, but ask the students to help write the descriptions.
• Draft the complete grading scale yourself, then give it to your students for review and suggestions.
A Few Do's and Don'ts…
Determining your goals for the assignment and its essential logistics is a good start to creating an effective assignment. However, there are a few more simple factors to consider in your final design. First, here are a few things you should do :
- Do provide detail in your assignment description . Research has shown that students frequently prefer some guiding constraints when completing assignments (Bean, 1996), and that more detail (within reason) can lead to more successful student responses. One idea is to provide students with physical assignment handouts , in addition to or instead of a simple description in a syllabus. This can meet the needs of concrete learners and give them something tangible to refer to. Likewise, it is often beneficial to make explicit for students the process or steps necessary to complete an assignment, given that students – especially younger ones – might need guidance in planning and time management (MIT, 1999).
- Do use open-ended questions. The most effective and challenging assignments focus on questions that lead students to thinking and explaining, rather than simple yes or no answers, whether explicitly part of the assignment description or in the brainstorming heuristics (Gardner, 2005).
- Do direct students to appropriate available resources . Giving students pointers about other venues for assistance can help them get started on the right track independently. These kinds of suggestions might include information about campus resources such as the University Writing Center or discipline-specific librarians, suggesting specific journals or books, or even sections of their textbook, or providing them with lists of research ideas or links to acceptable websites.
- Do consider providing models – both successful and unsuccessful models (Miller, 2007). These models could be provided by past students, or models you have created yourself. You could even ask students to evaluate the models themselves using the determined evaluation criteria, helping them to visualize the final product, think critically about how to complete the assignment, and ideally, recognize success in their own work.
- Do consider including a way for students to make the assignment their own. In their study, Hass and Osborn (2007) confirmed the importance of personal engagement for students when completing an assignment. Indeed, students will be more engaged in an assignment if it is personally meaningful, practical, or purposeful beyond the classroom. You might think of ways to encourage students to tap into their own experiences or curiosities, to solve or explore a real problem, or connect to the larger community. Offering variety in assignment selection can also help students feel more individualized, creative, and in control.
- If your assignment is substantial or long, do consider sequencing it. Far too often, assignments are given as one-shot final products that receive grades at the end of the semester, eternally abandoned by the student. By sequencing a large assignment, or essentially breaking it down into a systematic approach consisting of interconnected smaller elements (such as a project proposal, an annotated bibliography, or a rough draft, or a series of mini-assignments related to the longer assignment), you can encourage thoughtfulness, complexity, and thoroughness in your students, as well as emphasize process over final product.
Next are a few elements to avoid in your assignments:
- Do not ask too many questions in your assignment. In an effort to challenge students, instructors often err in the other direction, asking more questions than students can reasonably address in a single assignment without losing focus. Offering an overly specific “checklist” prompt often leads to externally organized papers, in which inexperienced students “slavishly follow the checklist instead of integrating their ideas into more organically-discovered structure” (Flaxman, 2005).
- Do not expect or suggest that there is an “ideal” response to the assignment. A common error for instructors is to dictate content of an assignment too rigidly, or to imply that there is a single correct response or a specific conclusion to reach, either explicitly or implicitly (Flaxman, 2005). Undoubtedly, students do not appreciate feeling as if they must read an instructor's mind to complete an assignment successfully, or that their own ideas have nowhere to go, and can lose motivation as a result. Similarly, avoid assignments that simply ask for regurgitation (Miller, 2007). Again, the best assignments invite students to engage in critical thinking, not just reproduce lectures or readings.
- Do not provide vague or confusing commands . Do students know what you mean when they are asked to “examine” or “discuss” a topic? Return to what you determined about your students' experiences and levels to help you decide what directions will make the most sense to them and what will require more explanation or guidance, and avoid verbiage that might confound them.
- Do not impose impossible time restraints or require the use of insufficient resources for completion of the assignment. For instance, if you are asking all of your students to use the same resource, ensure that there are enough copies available for all students to access – or at least put one copy on reserve in the library. Likewise, make sure that you are providing your students with ample time to locate resources and effectively complete the assignment (Fitzpatrick, 1989).
The assignments we give to students don't simply have to be research papers or reports. There are many options for effective yet creative ways to assess your students' learning! Here are just a few:
Journals, Posters, Portfolios, Letters, Brochures, Management plans, Editorials, Instruction Manuals, Imitations of a text, Case studies, Debates, News release, Dialogues, Videos, Collages, Plays, Power Point presentations
Ultimately, the success of student responses to an assignment often rests on the instructor's deliberate design of the assignment. By being purposeful and thoughtful from the beginning, you can ensure that your assignments will not only serve as effective assessment methods, but also engage and delight your students. If you would like further help in constructing or revising an assignment, the Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development Center is glad to offer individual consultations. In addition, look into some of the resources provided below.
“Creating Effective Assignments” http://www.unh.edu/teaching-excellence/resources/Assignments.htm This site, from the University of New Hampshire's Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, provides a brief overview of effective assignment design, with a focus on determining and communicating goals and expectations.
Gardner, T. (2005, June 12). Ten Tips for Designing Writing Assignments. Traci's Lists of Ten. http://www.tengrrl.com/tens/034.shtml This is a brief yet useful list of tips for assignment design, prepared by a writing teacher and curriculum developer for the National Council of Teachers of English . The website will also link you to several other lists of “ten tips” related to literacy pedagogy.
“How to Create Effective Assignments for College Students.” http:// tilt.colostate.edu/retreat/2011/zimmerman.pdf This PDF is a simplified bulleted list, prepared by Dr. Toni Zimmerman from Colorado State University, offering some helpful ideas for coming up with creative assignments.
“Learner-Centered Assessment” http://cte.uwaterloo.ca/teaching_resources/tips/learner_centered_assessment.html From the Centre for Teaching Excellence at the University of Waterloo, this is a short list of suggestions for the process of designing an assessment with your students' interests in mind. “Matching Learning Goals to Assignment Types.” http://teachingcommons.depaul.edu/How_to/design_assignments/assignments_learning_goals.html This is a great page from DePaul University's Teaching Commons, providing a chart that helps instructors match assignments with learning goals.
Additional References Bean, J.C. (1996). Engaging ideas: The professor's guide to integrating writing, critical thinking, and active learning in the classroom . San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Fitzpatrick, R. (1989). Research and writing assignments that reduce fear lead to better papers and more confident students. Writing Across the Curriculum , 3.2, pp. 15 – 24.
Flaxman, R. (2005). Creating meaningful writing assignments. The Teaching Exchange . Retrieved Jan. 9, 2008 from http://www.brown.edu/Administration/Sheridan_Center/pubs/teachingExchange/jan2005/01_flaxman.pdf
Hass, M. & Osborn, J. (2007, August 13). An emic view of student writing and the writing process. Across the Disciplines, 4.
Hedengren, B.F. (2004). A TA's guide to teaching writing in all disciplines . Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's.
Hudd, S. S. (2003, April). Syllabus under construction: Involving students in the creation of class assignments. Teaching Sociology , 31, pp. 195 – 202.
Leahy, R. (2002). Conducting writing assignments. College Teaching , 50.2, pp. 50 – 54.
Miller, H. (2007). Designing effective writing assignments. Teaching with writing . University of Minnesota Center for Writing. Retrieved Jan. 9, 2008, from http://writing.umn.edu/tww/assignments/designing.html
MIT Online Writing and Communication Center (1999). Creating Writing Assignments. Retrieved January 9, 2008 from http://web.mit.edu/writing/Faculty/createeffective.html .
You're signed out
Sign in to ask questions, follow content, and engage with the Community
- Canvas Instructor
- Instructor Guide
How do I create an assignment?
- Subscribe to RSS Feed
- Printer Friendly Page
- Report Inappropriate Content
in Instructor Guide
Note: You can only embed guides in Canvas courses. Embedding on other sites is not supported.
Panda Bot (beta)
Panda bot is coming soon, view our top guides and resources:.
To chat with Panda Bot, you need to log in to the Community.
You can ask Panda Bot how to use Canvas, Mastery, Elevate, and Impact products. It can help you find info from our guides and summarize info about the products.