Designing Assignments for Your Blended and Online Courses

When setting up assignments for courses that we teach either blended or completely online, you may want to consider what information the learners may need regarding the assignment that would be similar to what we might offer in a face-to-face classroom. The information may include a wide variety of communication tools such as announcements, instruction documents, rubrics, email, etc. that will hopefully guide our learners to reach or surpass the desired learning objective of the assignment.

It is clear to us why we have included an assignment into our respective courses. However, it may not always be clear to all of our learners and it may be necessary to provide some information about why and how the assignment helps to achieve a certain learning objective. This most likely does not need to be a lengthy discourse but rather something short and sweet to help tie the learning objective to the assignment.

As you create assignments for our classes, below is a checklist of some things that you may want to consider as you design your assignments.

  1. Is the assignment written clearly on the board or on a handout?
  2. Do the instructions explain the purpose(s) of the assignment?
  3. Does the assignment fit the purpose?
  4. Is the assignment stated in precise language that cannot be misunderstood?
  5. If choices are possible, are these options clearly marked?
  6. Are there instructions for the appropriate format? (examples: length? typed? cover sheet? type of document?)
  7. Are there any special instructions, such as use of a particular citation format or kinds of headings? If so, are these clearly stated?
  8. Is the due date clearly visible? (Are late assignments accepted? If so, any penalty?)
  9. Are any potential problems anticipated and explained?
  10. Are the grading criteria spelled out as specifically as possible? How much does content count? Organization? Writing skills? One grade or separate grades on form and content? Etc.
  11. Does the grading criteria section specifically indicate which writing skills the teacher considers important as well as the various aspects of content?
  12. What part of the course grade is this assignment?
  13. Does the assignment include use of models (strong, average, weak) or samples outlines?

If you would like additional information about creating assignments for blended or online classes, please do not hesitate to contact the CFC.