Techniques and Activities to help you explore this practice.
Leave parts of your course schedule/syllabus blank, and plan to invite students to help define that work. You may also build assignments around the work they choose: have students lead class discussions (online or in person), find/curate readings and resources, define the best assessment methods or grading approaches, pick the technology tools they think would work best, etc.
Identify multiple assignments or projects that can meet a particular goal of your course. Let students choose the assignments they wish to complete in order to demonstrate their learning. Think about offering variety in final product (video, Web site, presentation, written paper, etc.) or in aspects of a topic/ theme/ focus. Present students with a “menu” of engagement options and accept suggestions they might have to expand your menu.
Keep your design/plan for your course wide open. Spend the first few weeks working with your students to lay out a plan for your course. What topics do they want to learn more about? What kinds of work do they want to do? What will participation in the course look like? How do they want to work with each other? How do they want to be graded/assessed for their work? How will they hold themselves and their classmates accountable?
You can help guide this conversation to ensure that critical topics, issues, or work is covered, but provide as much freedom as possible to your students, encouraging them to see the course as a co-created experience between themselves and you.
Interested in blending this practice with Modular Based Scheduling? Consider turning over certain modules in your course to students — let them define the scope of the module, the activities/assessments, and the learning materials.
Rework an Assignment to Make it Choice-Friendly
Choose an existing assignment you’ve used in a class successfully. A larger assignment, project, or presentation will probably be best. Rework it using the following questions as your guide:
- What alternative product(s) could a student create for this assignment that you haven’t used before?
- How could you take the focus of your existing assignment and reframe it so that students can choose their own focus?
- Can you assess this assignment differently and plan for conversations with your class about what assessment/grading approach would work best?
- Can you propose a range of technology tools (or kinds of technology tools) that would work and leave the final choice up to your students?
Online reading and resources to help dive deeper into this practice.
- Opening the Classroom: Ownership & Engagement, Ben Van Overmeire
- Learning to Let Go: Listening to Students in Discussion, Chris Friend
- Thoughts on Student Agency, Karen Cangilaosi
- Collaborative Syllabus Design: Students at the Center, Amy Nelson
A larger community of teachers and learners interested in this practice.
Discuss on Twitter
If you are active on Twitter, we encourage you to share your thought and ideas using the #ACEFramework hashtag and the #studentchoice hashtag to talk about this practice, in particular.
Join a Meeting
If you are interested in talking to people about the Adaptability value (for which Flexible Deadlines is an ACE-informed practice), we invite you to our hosted Zoom chats. Chats are scheduled this summer on the following dates:
- Thursday, June 18 from 1:00PM-2:00PM (EDT): Overview of the ACE Framework
- Thursday, June 25 from 1:00PM-2:00PM (EDT): Adaptability Practices
Submit Your Ideas
If you find yourself working this summer on a project or approach that uses Student Design and Choice, we invite you to share what you’ve found or created, via the Submit Something button below. If you choose to publicly share your submission, it will immediately become available on this page in the Revisit section. (For particularly compelling submissions, we may also add this to the Explore section of this page.)
Hypothesize with Us
The online annotation tool, Hypothesis, is built into this Web site. Feel free to annotate this (or any page in the ACE Framework) with your own thoughts, critiques, questions, or ideas. You can easily get started with a Hypothesis account (which is free) and learn more about how to use the tool.
Join Our Team
Plymouth State University community members are invited to join our Teams site for the ACE Framework. Feel free to use our discussion channel to ask questions, give suggestions, and point to new resources.
A space for user-submitted ideas, resources, and links related to this practice.