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Transparent Assignment Design

Transparent Assignment Design is a process of making sure students understand the Purpose, Task, and Criteria of assignments and activities they engage in for your class. Using this outline, you can redesign existing assignments to be more transparent and help students know your expectations.

  1. Purpose
    • What skills and knowledge will students gain by doing the assignment?
    • How does the activity or assignment correlate with their career aspirations?
  2. Task
    • What are the steps to complete the assignment or activity? Be specific. Include due dates, and how the assignment is submitted (in person, on Canvas, etc)
    • What are pitfalls to avoid?
  3. Criteria
    • What does a successfully completed activity or task look like? Give multiple examples of previous student work.
    • How will the student be graded? Provide rubrics with grading details.


Here is an example of an activity that has been created and presented with principles of Transparent Assignment Design.

This image shows an assignment with well-outlined purpose, task, and criteria, with an informative title.
From Northeastern University’s Advanced Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Good Features: Notice how there is a title, a purpose, a task, and criteria for success that are easy to find. They use bullet points and numbering to increase the likelihood of students digesting the information about the assignment easily.
  • Possible Improvements: Including a due date, adding a rubric for grading, and how many points this assignment is worth.

Resources and Templates

Further Examples and Resources about Transparent Assignment Design

Transparent Assignment Template

Transparent Assignment / Activity Design Checklist

Completion Reward

If you choose to redesign an assignment or create one using Transparent Assignment Design, you can bring your content to OTL for a prize this summer!

Updated on June 29, 2021

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