5 Exercise: Converting a current assignment to high structure & renewable

The best way to understand structured renewable assignments is to create them. By way of making these exercises renewable, we encourage you to make the assignments you develop open, by posting them to an open assignment repository.

In this exercise, take an assignment from one of your courses, and try to make it high structure, and renewable. If you are academic staff, I invite you to work on how you might orient part of your work, like a learning technology, a standard communication, or a set of documentation, toward structured renewability.

  1. Choose an assignment, technology, documentation, really any artifact you want to work with.
  2. Think about the right ‘size’ of contribution – what length or depth of artifacts should learners or other contributors be asked to make or edit? This is a particular opportunity to increase structure by:
    1. Limiting the timeframe
    2. Limiting the length of contribution
    3. Thinking about the right length for feedback
  3. Make it renewable, by ensuring students/learners/contributors are asked to:
    1. Create something new or revise/remix existing OER.
    2. Create something that is useful beyond their learning
    3. Publicly share whatever they create or revise/remix
    4. Openly license whatever they create or revise/remix
  4. Now that the assignment is renewable, look for opportunities to increase the amount of feedback learners or participants get, through peer review, open review, or other practices.

(If time, write suggested contributions text)

Contributions do not have to be lengthy. Sometimes, we have the tendency to think of academic writing at the level of the paper. Renewable assignment artifacts can be paragraphs, sentences, quiz questions, glossary entries, and even tags. Often shorter contributions give opportunities for more detailed feedback.

An important note on student privacy: Both ethically, and by federal law, students should not be required to publicly share and openly license their work. It is their work. We can ask, invite, encourage, and give reasons, but it is their choice. One of the trickier things about creating a renewable course is leave the opportunity open for students to opt out of the public sharing and open licensing of their work, but it is important to do so.


Structured Renewable Assignments Copyright © by Peter Wallis. All Rights Reserved.

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