Assignments should be designed backwards, meaning that they should have a clear purpose related to the learning outcomes of the course.
- What is the central task that must be undertaken?
Effective assignments clearly articulate what kind of action or performance is expected. They are designed to elicit particular learning outcomes (and not too many).
- How should the required task be undertaken?
Pay attention to process, as experts doing research in their field often forget what it is like to approach research as a novice.
- How should student understanding of their research be communicated? How extensive should the communication be?
Think about audience, genre, and disciplinary conventions, as well as students' ability to understand and place specialized knowledge in context.
Questions adapted from: Hutchings, P., Jankowski, N. A., & Ewell, P. T. (2014). Catalyzing assignment design activity on your campus: Lessons from NILOA’s assignment library initiative. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).