Assignments, Platforms, and AI – Part 1

The first in a short series of posts on leveraging new technologies to alleviate boredom . . .

After fourteen years, I have decided to abandon the manually graded journal article analysis assignment in my graduate courses. I have integrated Perusall into all of the graduate courses that I teach, and the prompts for my Perusall assignments and the article analysis were the same. While repetition might be the mother of all learning, I’m not very maternal, and this seemed like overkill. Also, student writing in Perusall assignments is, at least potentially, a conversation between themselves and other students, the article analysis was a conversation with just one other person — me. Not very authentic. So the article analysis went into the trash bin. I wanted to replace it with something new and more interesting — for both me and my students. I’ll write about what that new thing is in my next post.

For now, I want to focus on the idea of using machine-graded assignments to make teaching less burdensome for the instructor and more interesting for students. Pre-Perusall, each of my graduate courses consisted of one discussion and two reading responses per week, the article analysis, and a final exam — 23 assessments. Now my courses have one discussion and one reading response per week, two Perusall assignments per week, the new yet-to-be-described assignment, and a final exam. Notice that I’ve reduced my assessment burden by almost a third while increasing student-to-student interaction.