Comprehensive Assessment Tracking System

The Joys of Double-Secret Extra Credit Opportunities

Tuesday, September 4, 2018 to Thursday, December 6, 2018
What is the Need/Assessment?: 

Students are not checking the comments I leave for them on their assignments in Canvas

Describe the necessity for this change: 

Students would get timely feedback if they would read the comments I leave for them, plus they'd save time since they often email/message me to find out why they lost points 

Describe what will be (or was) implemented to affect change: 

At the beginning of the week, I put a new assignment in Canvas that I called "Double-Secret Extra Credit Opportunity"  The assignment just told them that an Extra-Credit opportunity would pop up in Canvas that week.  Then, when I grade one of their assignments, I put a comment in for each student and told them to email or Canvas message me an image (their favorite mythological character for my Mythology class or folktales character for my Folktales class)

Interpret, compare and describe the results of the change: 

More 5than half of my folktales students got the extra credit, and they were pleased. Almost all of my Mythology students got the extra credit, and they were thrilled with the assignment. They told me why they liked their character, how they first learned about it, etc -- one student even told me about how her parents would cry out "Release the Kraken" when they woke up her little sister! I have no idea why they liked it so much, but it helped me get to know them 

After analyzing the information, what are the next steps?: 

I think I'm going to try the same thing using an Announcement in Canvas just to make sure they are reading the Announcements.  I stole this idea from a syllabus assignment that Annie Buentello told me about, so next semester, I'll build in that part, too.  I did put up an Announcement to tell them where the information was located to make sure that all the students got the message that reading the comments is important


In order to encourage my online students to read the comments I leave for them in Canvas, I developed the "Doube-Secret Extra Credit Opportunity" that rewards them for seeing instructions that I leave in a comment in Canvas. (Sadly, none of my students seemed to get the 'double-secret' reference; they mostly called it Super Secret or Secret -- sigh! I guess I'm officaly old if no one remembers Animal House anymore!) The results were amazing; it really got my students talking to me about what they liked and what they were interested in as it relates to the courses

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REBZS76641's picture
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Susan, I love this!  One of the things I am finding in my own graduate courses I am taking is that I am not reading everything the instructor posts.  I get a little overwhelmed and behind, so I tend to focus on the "what do I need to get my homework done this week" part of the class.  This is a great idea to get students more engaged in the class and reading things you want them to read.  Thanks for taking time to post this CATS.  

TER2062747's picture
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Susan this is such a innovative technique and I am happy you chose to write a CATS about it.  It is often difficult to get the students engaged, and reading/hearing what we say.  I am interested to hear about what happens as you include something like this in your other classes.

PATEP35711's picture
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Very creative way of getting students to carefully read comments. It's sad that we spend endless hours giving feedback to their writing and some don't even read our comments.   :)

AMYIZ82581's picture
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I love this idea, students never read my comments either but then ask questions that I made a comment about!