OTL Newsletters

Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.'

Mary Anne Radmacher

It's a new fiscal year! Thanks everybody for reading our newsletter over the past year. This month we are highlighting PACE plans in Canvas and Transparent Assignment Design. We hope you will glean valuable insights from what we share!

Upcoming Events

This month OTL will have two session options for the webinar: "All Things Canvas Video." Cliff Carron-Campbell will also be giving an in-person workshop on "4 Essential Questions of Learning." Click on the links to register for the different webinars.

Canvas Feature Spotlight: Pace Plans

Have you ever wished that your students had an easier way to see whether they are on track to finish the program in time? MTECH recently added a new tool to Canvas called Pace Plans which will allow you to set the due dates and pace automatically based on the student's enrollment date.

To review the training that we gave on how Pace Plans work, please view this course in Bridge (you must be logged in with your MTECH email to access this).

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

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!