Writing Assignments that Promote Active Learning

Monday, 15 December 2014
Mysore Narayanan, Miami University Oxford, Oxford, OH, United States
  1. Encourage students to write a detailed, analytical report correlating classroom discussions to an important historical event or a current event.
  2. Motivate students interview an expert from industry on a topic that was discussed in class. Ask the students to submit a report with supporting sketches, drawings, circuit diagrams and graphs. 
  3. Propose that the students generate a complete a set of reading responses pertaining to an assigned topic.
  4. Require each student to bring in one comment or one question about an assigned reading. The assignment should be a recent publication in an appropriate journal.
  5. Have the students conduct a web search on an assigned topic. Ask them to generate a set of ideas that can relate to classroom discussions.
  6. Provide the students with a study guide.  The study guide should provide about 10 or 15 short topics. Quiz the students on one or two of the topics.
  7. Encourage the students to design or develop some creative real-world examples based on a chapter discussed or a topic of interest. 
  8. Require that students originate, develop, support and defend a viewpoint using a specifically assigned material. 
  9. Make the students practice using or utilizing a set of new technical terms they have encountered in an assigned chapter. Have students develop original examples explaining the different terms.
  10. Ask the students to select one important terminology from the previous classroom discussions. Encourage the students to explain why they selected that particular word. Ask them to talk about the importance of the terminology from the point of view of their educational objectives and future career.
Angelo, T. A. (1991). Ten easy pieces: Assessing higher learning in four dimensions. In T. A. Angelo (Ed.), Classroom research: Early lessons from success (pp. 17-31). New Directions for Teaching and Learning, No. 46. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.