Start with an Appetizer
I was browsing through Penn State’s excellent Media Commons site and came across The Appetizer Assignment, presented as an easy video project for faculty and students. The web page includes prompts, a rubric template, a timeline, and suggested components — everything you need to get started.
I like this idea, and I like the “Appetizer” metaphor even more. It’s a great description for one of my favorite bits of advice:
If you are starting to explore a new tool,
use it in a short low-stakes activity before diving into a major project.
Imagine this scenario: The fall midterm exam is the first time that either my students or I have tried an online test. Sixty questions are divided into parts where questions are drawn at random from pools. As students begin to take the test we discover that someone has deleted questions, students are running out of time, there are errors in the answers, and it’s easy for students to cheat.
Here’s an alternative: During the first week of class I give an online get-to-know-you quiz. It contains five humorous questions, all answers are “correct,” and students can take it as often as they want. After dealing with a few bumps we all figure out how the tool works.