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Faculty Resources

Teaching Resources & Links


How to Design Assessment Rubrics

The benefits of using rubrics in course-work assessment are well documented:

  • Rubrics articulate instructor expectations for the assigned work and provide a scale against which the instructor measures student performance.

  • Rubrics familiarize students with the highest level of achievement and provide a scoring mechanism with ready-made feedback.

  • Rubrics provide a uniform way of providing feedback on assignments across multiple sections of the same course, thereby making scoring fairer and eliminating scoring bias.

  • Rubrics can also enhance teaching by providing instructors with a list of learning outcomes that they can teach towards.


The most common types of rubrics are holistic (providing a summation of performance corresponding with a score range) or analytical (providing details for each assessment criteria assigned to a task).  The type of rubric used often depends on the type of task and the instructor's  perceived assessment/feedback needs.


For more information on types of rubrics, visit these sites:

For more information on how to create rubrics, visit these recommended sites:

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Incorporating Writing

Incorporating Writing Activities into Courses

To become efficient writers, students need regular practice throughout their undergraduate degree programs (See WAC Clearing House: Why Include Writing in My Course). Writing courses help, but to maintain and improve their writing skills, students need frequent, if not daily, opportunities to put their thoughts and ideas into writing. Therefore, it is important for professors of all disciplines to provide such opportunities. 


For many instructors, this can seem like a daunting task,  but in fact, there are numerous ways to add writing components to a class without becoming overburdened with additional grading. The following sources provide helpful information on how to incorporate writing into a course:

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Discussion Forums

Using Online Discussion Forums as Course Components

As instructors increasingly incorporate flipped-classroom and blended-learning strategies into their classes, online discussion forms (ODFs) have become a common feature of otherwise traditional course designs, providing a means of facilitating and enhancing student engagement beyond the regular classroom.


The benefits of using ODFs are various and well-documented. Aside from facilitating student engagement, online discussion forums

  • Enhance learning by enabling students to gain a better grasp of course material through extended discussions with their classmates and instructor

  • Provide students with an equal opportunity to participate and communicate with their peers in said discussions

  • Increase student autonomy and individualized learning by easing time constraints and allowing flexibility in response formulation

  • Provide instructors with a record of student engagement and insights into student learning and comprehension of subject matter.

  • Provide instructors with an opportunity to add more writing practice into their courses

For information on setting-up and managing ODFs: 

Download the WCP Essentials Guide to Online Discussion Forums


Or view these recommended resources:

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Online Presence

Creating Online Presence for Better Student Engagement

In this video, Malgozata Kruszewska, Instructor at the NU Writing Center Program, offers advice and strategies on how to facilitate and maintain student engagement in online courses, as well as observations on adding a "human touch" to our online student learning environments during these difficult times.  


For a PDF version of the slides, click here. 

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Using Perusall to Facilitate Active Online Learning


Perusall is a free, collective annotation software tool for active online learning, which integrates with most learning management systems, including Moodle.


Perusall is a social e-reader, which turns the solitary, individual act of reading into a collective, collaborative experience. Developed by a team of teachers and researchers at Harvard, it is rather in a class of its own among online learning tools, offering many advantages to both students and instructors. By using Perusall:

  • Students can annotate assigned readings together, answer each other’s questions, recognize valuable contributions, and form mini-communities of interest around course topics.

  • Instructors can identify more quickly and reliably the pitfalls that students encounter as they annotate their way through the assigned content. This is because Perusall generates “confusion reports,” which flag the top 3-4 topics of discussion/confusion cropping up in the course of each activity set up by the teacher. With these reports in hand, instructors can more effectively address such pitfalls through lectures, further online activities, and assessments, as well as recognize individual students’ contributions.


In short, Perusall supports good class discussion even outside class, by keeping students engaged and motivated. In the past, it was mostly used to help instructors ‘flip’ their classrooms. But with the current COVID-19 crisis, it has emerged as a good addition to our educational toolkit, enabling instructors to move more of our course content online.


At NU, Perusall has already been added as an external tool on Moodle, so instructors and faculty can easily set up their own accounts and create their own Perusall accounts and create their own courses and assignments straight from their course page. Giving access to students is then as simple as creating a new assignment on Moodle.

For more information on Perusall, see these recommended resources.


For information on how to create a Perusall account through Moodle,

see our step-by-step guide.  



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Poetry of Science

The Poetry of Science


Looking for a novel way to kick-start your science class or Zoom session? try incorporating poetry into your opening discussion. 


The Poetry of Science is a blog that pairs the latest scientific research with poetry that captures the essence of the research in a way that is enjoyable and accessible to students. One approach would be to copy the text of the poem to a word doc or ppt slide and have the students explore the text before and after guessing which recent science report in the news it might be about. 


To visit the site and see the latest entries, click here.

To learn more about the blog and its creator, click here.


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