Let’s face it: many students go through the motions when completing an assignment. These final products are generally composed of a surface-level analysis of the prompt and a checklist of content meeting the minimum viable standards mentioned in the rubric.

To encourage students to focus on the process—rather than the result—of assignments, a growing number of courses require a statement of goals and choices to accompany each assignment submission.

While the wording of the questions may differ depending on the course and discipline, students are asked to reflect and respond to the following four core questions:

  1. Beyond satisfying the requirements in the assignment description, what is this piece trying to accomplish? How does it fit into the context of the broader course and your academic and professional development?
  2. What research methodologies, rhetoric, materials, and technologies did you use to accomplish the goal of the assignment?
  3. What other forms of research, rhetoric, materials, and technologies did you consider but not use, and why?
  4. Which people and factors, and to what extent, played a role in accomplishing the goals of the assignment?

Completing this statement of goals and choices gives students the expectation that their work will be held to higher account while also requiring them to engage in metacognitive activities to explain and rationalize their work to both the instructor and themselves.

These activities require students to develop more reflective and deliberate habits which will they will foster throughout their academic journey and benefit from for the rest of their lives.

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About the Author: Dustin is a senior account manager with DesignedUX, providing communications and marketing strategy to organizations in education and technology. Dustin is also a part-time faculty member at Centennial College and serves on the board of the Canadian Public Relations Society.