Mark Your +1: How Adding Assignment Options Can Lead to Active and Meaningful Learning
Concurrent Session 2
You may have brought a plus-one to a wedding, but what about bringing a plus-one to your classroom? In this conversation, participants will be challenged to add 'plus-one' options to each assignment in a current class they teach - that is, to include one other way students can meet the learning objectives.
You may have brought a plus-one to a wedding, but what about bringing a plus-one to your classroom? As many of us may have learned from experience, learning is not a spectator sport and neither is teaching. While the image of a college classroom is often of a large lecture hall with the instructor regaling the students with his or her knowledge, we know that our students learn best when they write, relate, apply, and experience. All of these often cannot be done simply and easily.
This is where the idea of plus-one assignments come in. We create our courses with a set number of assignments that, while meeting our course learning objectives, may not necessarily meet the learning needs of all our students nor provide active learning opportunities. While some students do best expressing their learning via a written paper or creating a PowerPoint presentation, this only meets the needs of some learners. Therefore, creating assignment options opens your class to meeting these needs while also enabling your students to participate in active learning no matter the assignment.
In this conversation, participants will be briefly introduced to the idea of what a ‘plus-one’ assignment is, how it can meet your students’ learning needs, and how it can incorporate the principles of active learning and multiple types of learning activity interactions (learner-to-learner, learner-to-instructor, learner-to-content). The majority of the time will be dedicated to having participants take a current course they are teaching and coming up with ‘plus-one’ assignments for as many current assignments as possible. Some assignment examples will be provided with active learning alternatives listed for inspiration. Finally, we will end the discussion with some possible challenges to this approach and participants will brainstorm ways to avoid or overcome these challenges.