Center for Teaching and Learning


July 23, 2020

Online finals: Providing flexibility & opportunities for creativity

By Ileana M. Rodríguez-Silva, History

For last spring’s HSTLAC 289: The Cuban Revolutionary Experiment, I initially planned to offer a final exam, similar to the mid-term, but changed my mind. Instead, I asked my 26 students to do a final assignment. Because I designed the class with a good number of short assignments I felt comfortable making these changes.

The final assignment prompted students to pretend to be a TA for an upcoming study abroad program taking a group of Environmental Studies undergraduates to Cuba for two weeks. They were asked to create a one-hour presentation, based on our course, introducing students to the projects and struggles of the Cuban revolutionary experiment of the last 60 years. Because students had more autonomy for this assignment, they engaged with the material differently. The changes resulted in students experiencing more joy and creativity in learning, which is what I think we need most.