As an ENG 1100 instructor, I feel compelled to share my findings in a new assignment that I tested out on my students this semester. The experience is what follows:

Instead of forcing students to make your everyday, typical PowerPoint presentation for their class project, consider something that is more enjoyable, and engaging.

For an Academic Writing and Reading college classroom, students were given a class “theme” on the first day of class. For this class in particular, the theme was “Animal Aspects.” For their research paper, students chose their own issue within the animal world to research. Some students chose animal testing, poaching, endangered species, and dog fighting. After their research paper was complete, students were asked to participate in a class “Animal Expo Conference” as a substitute for PowerPoint presentation over their findings. For the Expo, students compiled the findings from their research paper into a professional looking pamphlet or brochure for the class. In addition, students made “expo items” similar to those you find at a real expo fair. Some students made topic related food, while others had business cards, wrist bands, and customized pencils to hand out to everyone.

On the day of the “Animal Expo Conference” each student set up their area and prepared a short synopsis of their research and their argument  as to why, for example, “dog fighting must stop.”

Students showed a much higher level of engagement for the project and admitted that they actually had fun.

So, next time you consider assigning your average, run-of-the-mill assignments, consider the alternatives!