I have chosen two types of assignments for this section of the portfolio. The first is a formative assessment, set several times over the course of a semester, that I have used to gauge students’ understanding of course materials. The second is a summative assessment, due at the end of a section on assessing secondary literature and practicing public history writing.
Both of these assignments are from First-Year Writing Seminars (FWS) at Cornell University. The FWS is a central part of Cornell University’s Writing in the Disciplines program. The purpose of these classes is to teach composition as it is practiced in the instructor’s field. FWS classes require a minimum of five graded writing assignments per semester.
Assignment 1: Reading Geography Formative Assignment
Short Description: A formative assessment, given several times over the course of the term. The assignment asked students to prepare a map or image of the world informed only by the geography in the primary source reading. I provided students with a handout to help them pay attention to the ways that the texts and authors talked about global geographies. In the classroom I assigned students to work teams, and each team collaborated to produce a map based on their collective readings of the materials. We then discussed the maps, and the ways in which they were presenting historical arguments about geographical and cosmological space.
Course: Orbis Terrarum: The Medieval World was a Globe
Semester: Spring 2018
Assignment 2: Peer Review Blog Post Summative Assignment
Short Description: A summative writing assignment in which students were asked to respond critically to one of their classmates’ recent essays. Students could chose to argue against their peer’s conclusions, or if they agreed with the paper’s claims they could build on them. In either instance, students needed to produce an original response that engaged in an intellectual conversation with their classmate’s work. Their paper needed to be written as a blog post. The assignment assessed student learning in a section of the semester focused both on working with secondary literature and writing precisely at varying levels of formality.
Course: The Briton’s Britain: Constructing Medieval England
Semester: Spring, 2017
Course syllabus: here
Image Citation: Oxford, Bodleian Library, Canon. Class. Lat. 257, dated 1383