An assignment should teach the overall goals and issues driving your course.  It should reflect the theories, approaches, assumptions, and formats characteristic of your discipline.  The assignment should incorporate student interests to encourage real application in their majors or their lives.

  • Identify the learning outcomes this assignment will address, and communicate those to the students.
  • Outline the criteria you will be using to grade the assignment.  See Rubrics.
  • Clarify the requirements of the assignment.1  
  • Be as descriptive as possible to avoid ambiguity or overwhelming the students.
    • Length  
    • Citation format  
    • Acceptable types of sources  
    • Purpose of the assignment  
  • Designate an audience.  
    • This helps the student demonstrate their authority over the subject and allows them to take on the task of explaining a concept to a specific audience.2  
    • Allow the students to write or perform for a variety of different audiences, which they will have to do in a professional setting.3  
  • Vary the assignments  
    • Appeal to a variety of learning styles and strengths of the students.  
  • Complete the assignment yourself  
    • Is the assignment feasible?  
    • Is the time frame reasonable for the amount of work?  
    • Are the sources readily available?  
    • Check your assignments regularly so that you are not asking your students to use outdated sources.  
  • Discuss plagiarism and the importance of academic integrity in research and writing.
    • Encourage your students to visit the library for help via chat, email or in person at a reference desk.  
    • Ask your liaison librarian to come to your class to speak to students, or ask the librarian to help you design your assignments.