How I Teach - Reflecting on 15 years in design education
by Jon Kolko

Chapter One: Course Plans

Grading opportunities

Eventually, I become comfortable enough with the timeline structure I’ve drawn and the outcomes I’ve identified to think about assessment opportunities, which are places where I can grade the student’s progress.

Grading opportunities are places where I can see if a student is showing competency in a given area. This might be a natural stopping point in an ongoing project, a written essay, a formal test, or a design exercise. It doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road—I believe in having more, but smaller grading opportunities throughout the course. This gives students a chance to correct their behavior if they aren’t doing a good job or aren’t learning the concepts.

Let’s stub out where grades may live on the course schedule. This means defining where those key grading interventions make the most sense.

Earlier, we dedicated two classes towards learning how to hold a pen and making marks. As a result of these two classes, I want students to achieve the outcome statement we defined:

Be able to quickly sketch ideas for interfaces by hand

So, after those two classes, it seems like an appropriate time to insert some form of assessment to see how they are progressing towards that outcome. I’ll add an indicator to the timeline that after those two classes would be a good time to have an assignment due.

I discuss assessment in more depth later, but for now, simply adding the assessment moments to the timeline is enough.

Continue reading: Course Descriptions »