“Where Social Justice Met Assignment Design”: Interactive Portal run by Center for the Integration of Teaching and Learning at Lafayette College

Article republished from Lafayette University News

This summer the Center for the Integration of Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship hosted The Assignment Design Experience to provide an opportunity for all instructors at Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges (LVAIC) member institutions, including Lafayette, to immerse themselves in assignment design focused on social justice. The institute was completely virtual and held on a platform hosted by Acadiate to increase engagement in the virtual space. A number of Lafayette staff, faculty, and two students presented during the event, and registered attendees included instructors from all LVAIC institutions.

During the institute, facilitators presented a variety of assignment design principles and resources, as well as several sample assignments incorporating social justice. Featured assignments were diverse and included a game-based activity, assignments incorporating primary sources, digital storytelling assignments, and case studies. The institute concluded with an assignment charrette where participants virtually shared and described their assignments, and obtained feedback, including helpful perspectives from a student.

The feedback on the event was overwhelmingly positive with attendees indicating that they planned to use the strategies discussed in the future, and that they learned helpful tips for incorporating social justice elements into their assignments.

Sample comments included:

In the Good Assignment session, the student perspective was helpful to remind me that it is helpful for students to know why doing an assignment is beneficial. 

It was helpful to hear about others’ perspectives on and approaches to incorporating primary sources into their courses. Attendees shared useful additional resources in the chat.

I loved assignment charrettes. I learnt how you can be creative while designing the assignments, what to include in them.  I learnt about resources for case studies and a network for scholarship of teaching and learning. 

Participants were very positive about the virtual platform, and found it easy to navigate and liked the content. A dynamic Twitter feed embedded into the website allowed for real-time sharing using the #AssignmentDesign2021 hashtag, and a Gather.town networking zone allowed participants to engage in informal conversations outside of the sessions.

The summer institute allowed participants to take assignment design to the next level, and CITLS staff look forward to hearing about the fruit that it bears. We thank all attendees and presenters for their engagement in the sessions.

Link to the original article on school website.

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