innovation grant - kathleen daly

“Using in-depth Historical Case Studies to Create HIS 400-level Course: Consumer Culture in U.S. History”
Prof. Kathleen Daly
May 2023

My Faculty Innovation Grant allowed me to attend the 2023 Lilly Conference: Teaching for Active and Engaged Learning. I’m developing a new upper-level history course and wanted active learning, through the use of case studies, to be foundational to the course experience. While the conference sessions emphasized a variety of evidence-based methods for active learning, I was surprised to find that the most useful session was one on rubrics. The presenter, Salome Kapella-Mshigeni of California State University-San Bernadino, made a compelling case for the use of rubrics to support student engagement.

After attending the conference, I implemented rubrics for nearly all course components in the spring semester. After seeing students struggle with the transition to college and managing faculty expectations, the conference session inspired me to make my course expectations as legible to students as possible. I created rubrics for participation, written assignments, creative projects, and presentations. So far, I am struck by the flexibility in the kinds of rubric you can create and the ability to emphasize criteria across different classes and levels. The workload is top-heavy to get started, as a key component is to get the rubrics to students ahead of time, before they start working on an assessment. But I found that in the long run, the rubrics saved me time and energy. Below are a set of resources to help others get started with this tool.

Why Rubrics Matter

Most of our students arrive in our classrooms having used rubrics for much of their educational careers. Faculty can help students in their transition to college-level learning and through their higher education careers by providing continuity and clear guidelines. Rubrics help faculty provide more effective feedback, be transparent with expectations, and assess student work more efficiently.

Rubrics help:

  • Demystify the “hidden curriculum” (important for all student, but particularly for those who are first-generation or neurodivergent)
  • Make faculty expectation more transparent
  • Ensure consistent assessment from student to student
  • Save time on grading

Check out: Teaching in Higher Ed podcast episode 002, “Still Not Sold on Rubrics?”


How to Set up Rubrics in Canvas:

Scholarship & Further Reading:

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