This learning design task was for a special education course where the instructor was looking to move away from a traditional written assignment and wanted students to create a visual representation around alternative communication methods for children and adults with complex communication needs. A Learning Designer from ETS worked with the instructor to create an infographic assignment that allowed students to be more creative in demonstrating their knowledge of augmentative communication options. This assignment stayed in line with the course objectives and was supported by a grading rubric that reflected the objectives of the assignment.
The purpose of an infographic is not to display textual data in a large format, but to translate the information into a predominately visual mode, to tell a story visually. Canva and Piktochart are just two applications useful for creating infographics that are designed so as to encourage users to keep their content simple and attractive. Both provide templates and the ability to ‘start from scratch’ and both include a variety of built-in graphics.
Pedagogical Pros and Cons
Online learning requires the application of various strategies and activities to ensure students demonstrate their learning of course content and concepts. When considering alternatives for assessment, asynchronous as well as synchronous activities can be utilized. Alternative assessments can align with course learning objectives and provide opportunities for student choice and voice with creative written or multimedia options. Using alternative assessments as part of a course gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their proficiency in acquired skills via multiple forms of presentation. This form of assessment focuses strongly on student performance and the quality of work created.
When undertaking an alternative assessment, time and effort are important considerations. Will doing an alternative assessment require significantly more time than a traditional assignment? This can be overcome with a specific, measurable rubric and scaffolding of the skills required for satisfactory completion of the assignment.
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