Higher Education

Make Sure Your Assignments Have a “What” and a “Why”

A video about helping students better understand the goals of learning assignments

Jeff Przybylo underscores the importance of adding a personal level to assignments so that students not only prove they know what the answer is, but also why it matters.


Jeff Przybylo:

Make sure your assignments have both parts. If you were asking a question about history, what year was this? Or who did what? That’s fine, but then following up that question with why this happened or that happened? Or how did you feel about this? Or when you read this, did this remind you of anything from your life? Really forcing students into taking the information, no matter where they got it, whether they pulled it out of the textbook or got it from AI, I guess it doesn’t matter. But putting that application level in there, and I’ve been going through all of my discussion stuff in my online classes and making sure I’m adding that part to it.

And I’ve been grading already and really starting to see, and I added a question in their introduction essay this week that said, what are your strengths as a student? And they just started talking about themselves and I’m like, this is really neat. So I’m starting to put more personal stuff in there and I don’t think that’s a genius idea. I hope that we’re all doing that anyways, but I think in light of everything we’re talking about here, it’s become more important. We really have to get down to that personal level and application analysis level in our assignments.