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Alternative Assignments for English: What is an Alternative Assignment?

This guide provides ideas for creative assignments for English classes as an alternative to the traditional essay or research paper. These assignments are designed to encourage originality, research, information literary skills, and reflective thinking o

What is an Alternative Assignment?

Course assignments can be traditional or creative. A break from the traditional research paper assignment can make the class more interesting and engaging. Institutions the world over are creating and encouraging alternative assignments to motivate students and provide them with better learning opportunities. Alternative assignments allow students to use multimedia, technology, and other resources for their projects in order to promote student engagement, greater attention to detail, encourage creativity, and embrace challenge. Alternative assignments also help to limit plagiarism which is one of the big concerns today.

Reasons for considering the use of creative writing assignments:

  • Creativity and innovation are required in twenty first century workspaces
  • Different types of assignments can help diverse learners connect with and retain course material
  • Literature is perceived freshly when the method of analysis requires both creative and critical responses
  • The importance of literary genre, structure, style and narrative perspective become clearer when one is crafting narrative and characters can be comprehended more deeply when one imagines their unstated thoughts
  • Writing in various genres provides practice for students who will write as part of their careers
  • Evaluation of new assignments invigorates the professor, while creative activities provide a variety and change of pace appreciated by contemporary college students

    Cummins, Amy. :Tell Me a Story: Effective Use of Creative Writing Assignments in College Literature Courses". Currents in Teaching and Learning, 1.2 (Spring 2009): 42-49. http://www.worcester.edu/Currents/Archives/Volume_1_Number_2/CurrentsV1N2CumminsP42.pdf

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