How many times have you used an online course assignment like this during the first week of a new term?
“Please post an introduction of yourself to the rest of the class on the discussion board.”
How many times have you received responses that look pretty much like this one?
“Hi!! My Name is Kristine. I am currently working towards my LPN degree. I would like to complete my RN someday too. I stay busy chasing around my 3-year-old boy & a 2-year-old girl! I also have 5 horses, 4 dogs, 3 cats, 2 goats, and one husband. They all keep me very busy, but I love it. We live on a farm in case you couldn’t guess. I am very excited about this course; it should be very interesting!”
Now’s the time to put your imagination to good use. Spice up this assignment to keep yourself interested and to let your students scratch their creativity muscles a bit. Here are three options to consider. Please share other ideas in the comments.
Family Member Introductions
The assignment here is for each student to ask 2 or 3 questions of a family member. Then they post the questions and their answers in the discussion forum. They could ask a parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt or uncle, etc. Maybe you want to give them a selection of questions that they can choose from, such as:
- What do you recall about me when I was first starting school?
- How prepared do you think I am for college classes?
- What do you remember about my childhood that describes a time that I really wanted to learn something? What was it and what did I do?
- As they relate to college, what do you think are two of my strengths and one weakness?
- In your view, what were my most favorite and least favorite classes in elementary through secondary school?
Public Domain photo courtesy of Pixabay.
Deserted Island for a Year
Choose the five objects that would bring with you if you were going to spend a year on an undeveloped, deserted island. No electricity, no ready-made shelters, no YouTubeTM! Which five objects would you bring, and explain your choices in the discussion post.
You might want to create your own answer as well, and share it with the students after they have posted their answers and responded to the posts of others.
Just for fun, I created my list, although it is admittedly tongue-in-cheek.
- Beach pail
- Beach shovel
- Bottle of FATwater®
- One of those twirly-things.
Students can introduce themselves and share something about their personalities by posting about three of their favorite things; such as pick three of the following:
- Favorite movie/actor
- Favorite song/singer
- Favorite book/author
- Favorite YouTuber/Instagrammer
- Favorite pet/animal
- Favorite sports team/athlete
In my experience, you can expect the following outcomes from this exercise:
- you’ll learn more about the students in your class,
- they’ll be more memorable based on what they’ve shared,
- they’ll have more fun with this assignment,
- you’ll laugh out loud from time to time.
Enjoy the start of the term.
Interested in applying any of these techniques and more?