In Spring 2023, the Graduate Center’s Teaching and Learning Center hosted an “Assignment Hack-a-thon,” where GC student instructors discussed student-centered teaching practices and redesigned their own assignments to be more inclusive and equitable. Students who “hacked” and remixed their assignments at the event agreed to openly license their materials and these assignments served as the foundation for the TLC’s Assignment Library.

Support for the Hack-a-thon event and the initial assignment contributions were provided by the Transformative Learning in the Humanities. To read more about this support read our TLH project recap.

The TLC Assignment Library uses Creative Commons licenses to share these assignments for remixing and reuse by other instructors. We hope that this Assignment Library will continue grow as instructors develop and share their assignments. To submit an assignment visit our Contribute page.

Do we want to have pedagogical guidance/overview about what we mean by inclusive, student centered, contextual assignments here?

Development & Design of the Library

To create the Assignment Library, TLC Staff and Fellows engaged in a multi-step exploration, development, and design process. In addition to hosting the Assignment Hack-a-thon, the TLC staff reviewed other assignment libraries to identify design elements for our ideal assignment library. Other libraries we looked at include:

From our exploration we identified several design elements we wanted to build into our TLC Library:

  • robust search functionality, including a search bar and also alternative pathways (such as discipline or class size) to sort through the assignments
  • full assignment can be viewed on the site, without downloading a document; document download still an option, if desired
  • user-friendly, simple, and stream-lined design; minimalist theme with limited descriptions (AKA no “wall of text”)
  • categories and tags to organize and surface content
  • ideally assignments entries include teacher instructions and rubrics, if applicable

Following the feature identification phase, TLC staff began to build out the website and collect the final versions of assignment from Hack-a-thon participants. Assignments were added to the Library site, and during this process we tested and finalized the single assignment entry formatting.

During this phase, TLC staff also conducted user experience interviews with 7 graduate students who attended the Hack-a-thon. During these interviews, the graduate students navigated through the assignment library website and provided feedback on the design and functionality of the site, and site changes were made based directly on their feedback. The graduate students also provided ideas for how to best shared the Assignment Library around the GC and offered to help distribute the resource through their networks and program listservs, a common communication channel for GC students to receive information, but one that is typically difficult to reach if you are not part of the program.

While adding the assignment entries to the Library, the category and tag structure took shape based on the tags and categories suggested by the assignment contributors. IN this way, the library is collaboratively developed with the instructors who submit assignments. When submitting, instructors can suggest key words and tags to be applied to their assignment, and this will determine how the assignment is categorized and searchable. In short, development of this taxonomy and folksonomy is collaborative and iterative, and will continue to develop as more assignments are submitted to the Library.

In the future, when instructors submit an assignment, they are able to choose the Creative Commons license for their submission. Unless otherwise noted, all assignments on this site are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). This means that assignments can be reused and remixed but must be attributed to the original assignment creator, and remixed versions cannot be used for commercial purposes and must be shared openly under the same license.

See our Resources page for more information.