The Assessment Institute focuses on the assignment as a means of assessing student learning. Through peer feedback and guided work time, this intensive two-day workshop helps individuals and instructor teams to redesign, adapt, or create new assignments for their courses.
Whether you are an individual faculty member seeking to improve an assignment, or an instructor team seeking to link assignments horizontally (within a course or across courses in the same term) or vertically (across courses in different terms or years), the Assessment Institute will provide the space, time, expertise, and peer feedback you need to develop a thoughtful and thorough assignment outline.
This program was first developed by The University of Waterloo’s Centre for Teaching Excellence. We are pleased to have the opportunity to adapt the program for the Western context and now offer the program to faculty on our own campus.
By the end of the Institute, you will be able to:
- Articulate what you want students to learn in your course and consider/evaluate assignment types
- Choose or revise an assignment that best measures the knowledge and skills you most want your students to learn
- Construct an assignment outline that includes clear instructions for students
- Incorporate peer and student feedback in revisions to assignments
We are following several frameworks in the design and delivery of the Assessment Institute:
- The Instructional Skills Workshop peer feedback model, adapted to provide feedback on assignments rather than on lesson planning and delivery.
- The Design Charrette model offered for several years by the National Institute on Learning Outcomes Assessment.
- Alignment between outcomes, activities, and assessments as outlined by Biggs (2003).
What to expect
Participants are required to submit an Assignment Proposal prior to attending the workshop, and arrive at the workshop prepared to discuss the preliminary design of the assignment with small groups of peer faculty members.
The workshop is a two-day intensive program that runs from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm each day. Homework between the first and second days includes revising your assignment, to be presented for additional feedback on the second day.
Biggs. J. (2003). Teaching for Quality Learning at University – What the Student Does. 2nd Edition Buckingham: SRHE / Open University Press.
ISW International. (2006). Instructional Skills Workshop Handbook.
National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment. (2013). Organizing Assignment Design Work on Your Campus: A Tool Kit of Resources and Materials. http://degreeprofile.org/assignment-design-work/
Saroyan, A. & Amundsen, C. eds. (2004). Rethinking Teaching in Higher Education: from a Course Design Workshop to a Faculty Development Framework. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.
No sessions are scheduled at present.
New and/or experienced instructors, librarians, and archivists from all disciplinary backgrounds.
Login to Western Connect and register for the Assessment Institute.
Complete the Assessment Institute Application survey.
Submit your $50 deposit (cash or cheque only) to the CTL to complete your registration the program. The CTL is typically open Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
You will receive a confirmation email when your registration is complete.
Prerequisites / Recommended Preparation
Participants are required to submit an Assignment Proposal prior to attending the workshop. The proposal will identify the course/level and describe the assignment participants wish to redesign, adapt or create during the workshop. Participants will need to set aside some time (~2-3 hours) between the first and second days of the workshop to revise their assignments.
To receive the certificate of completion, faculty must participate in the full two-day program (eight hours each day), complete two mini-assessment preparations, and provide feedback to peers in their group.
Typically offered once per year.
Applies to following certificates
This workshop applies to the Course Design and Delivery component of the Faculty Certificate in Teaching Excellence.