Directions for Student Assignment

Last Updated: Aug 05, 2014 09:29AM PDT
You should provide clear directions to help students upload their papers as part of your assignment instructions, your syllabus, and wherever else makes sense to you. Students in any course, be it online or face to face, have similar concerns. Consider the following questions as you create your assignments: What do you want me to learn (Objective)? Why am I learning this (Rationale)? What do I need to know or do to complete the assignment (Clear Directions)? How will I be graded (Grading Criteria)?

Effective online assignments provide clear expectations and detailed directions. You can include the following elements:
  • Clear submission deadline and how they will submit the work
  • Grading criteria  or rubric listing the criteria and assigning points for increasing levels of sophistication.
  • Accepted file formats: DOC, DOCX, PPT, PPTX, XLS, XLSX, and PDF
  • Required length or size of submission
  • Suggested resources
  • Preference for source citation: MLA, APA, CBE, and so on
  • Model or example of a successful assignment
  • How and when they will receive feedback
  • How the assignment is to be completed—individually or in groups
Here is some suggested language to get you started:

When you have finished your assignment and are ready to upload your file, use the Assignment tool link that has been placed in your course. It will have an icon that looks like a piece of paper with a pencil and a ruler.
Paper and pencil assignment image
If you are get an error message when you upload your file, the first thing to do is check the file name. To avoid problems, a file should be named using only letters, digits, dashes, and underscores, and should have file extensions that specify the type. You should avoid files with names like "33 1/3%" or "Lecture Notes 2/2/04". Use names like "one_third.doc" or "lecture-notes-2-2-04.ppt" instead.

Be especially careful to avoid spaces at the beginnings of file names – they are easy to include by accident, and hard to notice unless you are looking for them.

Example: JMSmith_Paper2.docx

See also this instructional video from Blackboard.