I have had a bit of trouble this semester with students who don’t read instructions thoroughly. So I posted about it on facebook and Twitter and got lots of supportive comments from others.
And no – I do not read manuals for software and I don’t read Terms & Conditions but those are very different things from assignment instructions 🙂
But someone alerted me this problem may relate to our undergrad students being of the “text” generation. I have no idea how to test that theory unless I’m teaching a class of mixed ages (which I don’t, usually), so here’s what I think I will try next semester.
I am thinking of experimenting with 140 char (tweet-length) assignment instructions. Let’s see if it works.
So I started doing it for some of my assignments and it looks doable (I didn’t actually count the characters but they look to be close to 140 chars)
for Liquefy the Syllabus:
“Give the syllabus a makeover: make it look more attractive AND change 3 things you didn’t like & suggest improvements”
Or post-game reflection
“Reflect on your process of creating the game, what your role was, what you learned prototyping, what you could have done better”
See? It’s easy? And then if 140 chars isn’t enough, I can add links 🙂
I’m seriously considering doing this!!! And it might be OK not to give details so students can be creative (it’s a creativity course) – that, or have “more details” in a link for those who care to look but at least the gist of it is easy to skim so they at least get the basics of the assignment right.
Of course, some time, I need to help those students learn to read something that’s longer than 140 chars but I’ll keep that to course content and each other’s blogs, rather than assignment instructions.