Working Group: Better Assignment Communication:
Transparency in Action through TILT

The ‘Transparency in Learning and Teaching’ (TILT) in Higher Education project is an award-winning, scholarly project focused on improving students’ learning experiences. The TILT assignment framework asks faculty to articulate the purpose, tasks, and criteria in detail. Students apply the criteria to a sample assignment prior to completing their own work.

Faculty who have implemented TILT in their courses report “increases in students’ motivation in class, higher-level class discussions with sharper focus, more on-time completion of assignments, and fewer disputes about grades” (Winkelmes et al., 2016).

Evidence from a national study shows that when faculty enhance transparency for just two assignments, there are statistically significant benefits for all students and even larger gains for first-generation students, low-income students, and students of color (Winkelmes et al., 2016).

Since the Spring 2020 semester, the CTL and Writing in the Disciplines (WID) have run a semester-long TILT working group for faculty to design assignments using the TILT framework and receive peer feedback. Faculty report that giving feedback is as useful as receiving feedback to think critically about how to design assignments that will support achievement for all students.

“I just really want to recommend anyone who has not been a part of a TILT group to consider it next semester, because honestly, it has been one of the top developments for myself in terms of setting up students for success.”

— Liz Adams, Clinical Professor in Communication Science and Disorders

What does it mean to join the TILT working group? We ask for a one-semester commitment to attend 90-minute meetings every ~2 weeks with the goal of transforming at least two assignments. You will work on drafting assignments independently and then share them with the group for peer feedback. During the meetings, we provide written and verbal feedback. We also share insights about the TILT process and how students respond to transparently designed assignments. Faculty are welcome to participate in more than one semester.

If you are interested in joining a TILT group, please fill out this form. Send inquiries to Jen Garrett-Ostermiller (jennifer.garrett-ostermiller@uvm.edu).

Reference:
Winkelmes, M., Bernacki, M., Butler, J., Zochowski, M., Golanics, J., & Weavil, K. H. (2016). A Teaching Intervention that Increases Underserved College Students’ Success. Peer Review, 18(1), 31-36. Retrieved from ProQuest.