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Responsive Assignments

Teachers can design assignments that respond to new or amplified demands on students’ time and attention as they try to learn from home.

Photo of Kristen Myers
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I am a.....

  • Teacher

Tell us about your idea

Remote learning can amplify inequalities. When learning from home, not all students have equal time or space to focus on their classwork—older students may be struggling to balance school with a job, they may lack private space to work in, or have to share tools and tech with family members. Adult students may have to balance their own learning with facilitating their children’s at-home learning.

A paradigm shift in the way educators think about homework and assignments can help. We can establish a new way of working and let students choose their own assignments and deadlines. Being flexible with assignments and deadlines can give students more control over their own schedules, allowing them to design their class in a way that will meet their learning from home needs. Students could choose how many assignments they’ll get to in a semester, or choose which assignments to complete out of a list of options, or simply set their own deadlines.

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

The tendency to put the onus on students and families to figure out how to access expensive tools and technologies (not everyone has the fast computer, or the expensive program, or the ability to spend hours upon hours a week on campus, in the library, using their computers).

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

We’re full-time designers and part-time college educators who have been talking about COVID-19, its likely effects on our upcoming fall classes, and what our respective colleges and universities are planning. We ended up brainstorming some ideas addressing a few of the likeliest or trickiest challenges students and teachers may face this fall.

What region are you located in?

  • North America

Where are you located?

Chicago

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