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Instructor Toolkit: Create a Digital Assignment

Helping students create digital assignments

To Instructors: The library has compiled the resources below for you to share with your students. You can post individual resources in CourseLink, share resources with individual students during your office hours, and/or circulate these resources in advance of relevant assessments.  

If you are interested in in-class workshops or guest lectures on any of these topics, we can help. Email or go to Book an Appointment, In-Class Instruction and complete the appropriate form to request a session. 

Embedding Content in CourseLink

OpenEd can help instructors embed content into their course pages. For more information on why to embed and instructions on how to do it, please see the Embedding Items support page. 

What is a digital assignment?

Digital assignments provide students an opportunity to engage with technology and create media in their coursework. These types of assignments are great at developing skills in communication, critical thinking, technology, visual literacy, group work and more. Some examples of digital assignments include:

  • Animated videos
  • Blogs
  • Digital Stories
  • Infographics or posters
  • Pitch Videos
  • Podcast/Audio walk

What are the benefits of digital assignments?

Digital assignments can help students develop technological and digital literacy skills.

While technological literacy is about the ability to learn and use different technologies in different environments and circumstances, digital literacy moves beyond learning specific tools and is about gaining the ability to think critically about technology, create meaningful digital objects, and communicate to a larger community.

Integrating technological and digital literacy development into courses and the curriculum is important because:

  • Technological literacy is identified as an undergraduate and graduate degree level learning outcome.  
  • Their inclusion ensures that students at the University of Guelph learn how to use technology to create digital content in a knowledgeable and ethical way in order to contribute to an ever growing digital society.
  • Students gain opportunities for experiential learning, reflection, and developing employability skills.

How do I make sure the assignment is manageable?

If you are thinking of adding a digital assignment to your course, it is important to make sure that the effort and weighting are aligned.  

Digital assignments often replace a more traditional, written assignment. Many of the components are similar: 

  • Planning and outlining  
  • Research 
  • Writing  
  • Revising 

However, there are additional components that need to be considered when determining the length and weighting of an assignment: 

  • Selecting and learning a new tool  
  • Visual design  
  • Finding media 
  • Creating and editing media  

For each of the assignment types, recommendations are provided around length and weighting that you can review as you design your assignment.  

Space to create media

The Media Studio is located on the second floor of McLaughlin library. University of Guelph Students, Faculty and Staff can schedule time to access equipment, reserve space or get assistance with learning a new tool from Media Studio staff. The Media Studio consists of three spaces: 

  • Filming Studio: In this space, you can access cameras, microphones, greenscreen, lights and more.  
  • Sound Booth: Book this space to access professional equipment and a quiet space to record a podcast or the voiceover for a video. 
  • Editing Suites: Schedule a consultation to troubleshoot an issue with a digital tool or access a professional program available on the Mac workstations.  

In Fall 2022, the Media Studio will be launching a circulating equipment collection when it opens on September 26. Please check the library homepage for updates. 

Online support for digital assignments

If you are interested in including technological and digital literacy development in your course, the Media Studio can:

  • Work with instructors to design digital assignments and rubrics.
  • Offer online consultations about assignments and tools.
  • Provide in-class workshops on designing and creating media. 
  • Access to classroom accounts for PowToon and WeVideo.
  • Run library workshops on digital creation tools: Audacity, Canva, Powtoon, and WeVideo.
  • Provide online help guides, videos and tutorials.
  • Offer online appointments to get help learning a new tool or troubleshoot issues with a tool.

Please contact the library for more information. 

Universal design for learning

It is also important to plan for students with disabilities or others who may not have access to the technology required to complete the assignment. Some options include: 

  • Accessible tools: Depending on the type of project, there are a number of accessible tools available to create digital media. To learn more, please contact the library.  
  • Group work: there are many components to digital assignments that do not require access to specialized or accessible technology. Sudents can still actively participate in choosing the topic, outlining an argument or perspective, doing research, writing and elements of design.  
  • Alternative assignment: consider providing an alternative and equivalent assignment for students who are unable to complete the digital assignment for any reason. It could be replaced by a written assignment, unedited audio recording, or a silent video. 

Resources to plan your digital project

Link to Guide: Create a scriptLink to Guide: Create a StoryboardLink to Guide: Apply Graphic Design Principles in Your Digital Creations

Resources to help with filming

Guide: Learn Video and Filming BasicsLink to Guide: Record Audio Interviews & Film Video InterviewsLink to Guide: Film a Pitch Video or Video Resume Link to Guide: Create a Whiteboard Animation Video

Resources to find media

Video: What are Creative Commons Licenses?Link to Guide: Find Audio, Images and video for remixingLink to video: Find Freely Licensed Media to use in Your Digital Project

Resources to help edit video footage

Link to Guide: Edit Video WeVideoLink to Guide: Edit Video: iMovieLink to gudie: Edit Video: Shotcut

Resources to help with recording audio

Link to Guide: Record Audio with AudacityOnline Module: Audacity TutorialLink to Guide: Record Audio on your computer or phone

Resources to finalize your digital project

Link to Handout: How to Give Awesome FeedbackLink to Guide: Make Your Digital Media Project AccesibleLink to Guide: Make Your Digital Content Public

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