Assigning digital projects in lieu of, or in addition to, traditional pen-and-paper assignments, provides students with the opportunity to individualize their learning, work in non-traditional formats, become responsible digital citizens, and develop valuable digital literacies. GU, through CNDLS and the Gelardin New Media Center, supports a number of digital tools that students can use to create digital assignments for your course.

Any good assignment helps the professor and students pursue the learning goals of the course. Rather than starting with a prefabricated assignment, then, this is another opportune moment for backward design; ideally, you start with your course goals and think creatively to devise work that will help you meet them. In practice, this means that a good assignment generally does two things: it reinforces important learning and offers an opportunity for the professor to assess the quality of that learning.

Things to Remember:

When designing a digital assignment, consider these points:

  • Digital Tool Selection: Is the digital tool appropriate for the learning outcome?
  • Support: What support is available to students through Gelardin, CNDLS, LinkedIn Learning (via GU Library), or even the company that created the tool?
  • Equipment and/or Software Needs: Do students need access to specialized equipment or software and is it available to them through GU?
  • Scaffolding and Timing: Students will need extra time and additional milestone moments or check-ins with you to ensure that they are on the right track.

Assessing Digital Assignments

The primary challenge to faculty in grading non-traditional assignments like a digital assignment: we know what an “A” paper or traditional project “looks” like, through our years of experience, but these new modalities are unfamiliar, so what does an “A” look like now?

One important consideration is to keep what is most familiar to us: the student learning outcomes for the course and assignment. If we start from that, then we can begin to create a rubric based on the learning outcomes, and then incorporate the digital elements afterwards. Having a conversation with the students about assessment and what an “A” looks like can also help collaboratively and productively create meaningful rubrics.

Further Resources

GU Tools and Services Webpage: A list of all of the GU-supported digital tools and services, with contact information for support for each tool, as well as pedagogical applications and assignment examples.

Audio and Podcasting Projects Webinar: A webinar that highlights faculty who have incorporated podcasting into their pedagogy, as well as resources to how to get started with podcasting with your students.

Teaching and Learning with GU Domains Webinar: A webinar on how to use GU Domains to incorporate digital assignments into your pedagogy.

Gelardin Digital Tools and Assignment Guides: Guides to help you get started with the tools necessary to create digital assignments. They also offer workshops on their tools and equipment.

Assigning and Assessing Multimodal Projects: Another term for digital assignments, the GU Writing Program provides useful advice and guidance to not just assigning but assessing multimodal projects.