Strategies for Implementing Digital Assignments

Strategies for Implementing Digital Assignments

Paige Normand (James Madison University, USA), Alexa Senio (James Madison University, USA) and Marlena Luciano (James Madison University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3417-4.ch021
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In chapter, the authors draw from their in-class experiences, one-on-one tutoring sessions, focus-group interviews with students, and discussions with all of the course-embedded peer tutors about their experiences working in digital communication across campus, to discuss some of the “behind the scenes” issues that students face that might be invisible to faculty. The authors' observations and reflections over the past two years have led them to identify common hurdles on their campus and identify solutions for faculty interested in incorporating digital assignments into their curriculum. The chapter addresses the following obstacles faculty might face and offers solutions: (1) students do not understand the value of the digital assignment, (2) students are not confident the faculty will accurately evaluate their digital production, (3) students' skill development is hampered by their anxiety about their aptitude and confusion about their process for digital production, and (4) students do not feel comfortable sharing honest concerns and anxieties about digital composition with their instructor.
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While students might think of professional portfolios as a practical tool for the job market, faculty should consider how assigning digital projects and discussing the value of a digital portfolio can help students more accurately reflect and describe their role as learners, work through complex problems, identify areas they want to develop, and hold themselves to standards external to their course grades. Eyon, Gambino, and Török (2014) report “ePortfolio practices correlate with substantially higher levels of student success, as measured by widely recognized indicators, including: course pass rates, GPA, credit accumulation, retention across semesters, and graduation” (p. 96). As more faculty integrate digital assignments into their courses, more students are given the opportunity to synthesize and demonstrate their intellectual development through a digital portfolio that showcases their growth, skills, and academic experience.

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