written to the student

Written to the student is a specialized term. This is curriculum meant to be read by the student so that the student can understand the presented concept and complete the work independently, without needing assistance from the teacher or parent. When teachers assign work that can be completed without direct supervision, it’s more likely to be completed.

In the online classroom, setting tasks written to the student means that teachers don’t assume a student has constant access to a device or the Internet, design work to be completed without peers, and assign work that doesn’t require significant background knowledge or assistance from the parent. Everything that the student needs to know or have to complete the work is included in the lesson, including how long it should take, the criteria for success, and an example of good work. In the UK, school or teacher-created booklets are often written to the student.

For example, one of my common assignments is an online written discussion question. I review the concept during my Orientation session, teaching students where to find it. These slides are provided to the student in PDF format, so they can download it and print it out as they wish. I have another slide repeating the routine for due dates. Yet another slide gives examples of possible discussion question response topics. The next slide gives a model and explains exactly how I grade it. I mark this up during the synchronous session, detailing criteria for the rubric. Afterwards, when students go to complete the work independently, the directions are repeated in the relevant portion of the LMS. Finally, in the assignment itself, I have modeled and provided directions again.

At this point in the course, the vast majority of students can complete the work independently, without asking a teacher for assistance, and without needing to be online for most of the assignment. They only need to be online long enough to copy and paste their work in the correct box, and submit it.

Make all assignments written to the student.


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