In the Adams Center, we have hosted multiple sessions extolling the virtues of “transparent assignments”; that is, assignments that make explicitly clear the purpose of an assignment along with the skills and tasks needed to successfully complete that assignment. This transparency helps instructors connect assignments to course outcomes as it equips students to succeed. It’s especially helpful for first-generation college students, for example, who may not know the unspoken rules about how to succeed in their college classes.
The same principles outlined for transparent assignments can be applied to assessments of various types, including exams. In the video below, I walk through an example of a “transparent exam” that is included in the Mission and Implementation Resource Course in Canvas.
NOTE: As you might have noticed, the descriptions for transparent assignments and assessments can get a little long. I don’t want that long description cluttering the top of the screen when students are taking an exam; so, I included the full description of the exam on a Canvas page. Then, at the bottom of the page, I provide a link to the actual Canvas quiz. When students click the link, it will take them to the streamlined exam that includes the questions they need to answer without my lengthy exam description.