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Twofers or Disposables? Reflecting On Classwork

Twofers or Disposables? Reflecting On Classwork

Written by Deanna Mascle
September 12, 2014

Jon Becker blogged this week about disposable assignments and intellectual stairmasters. He credits David Wiley for the term “disposable assignments” which are explained like this:

These are assignments that students complain about doing and faculty complain about grading. They’re assignments that add no value to the world – after a student spends three hours creating it, a teacher spends 30 minutes grading it, and then the student throws it away.

Becker is particularly taken by Tom Woodward’s metaphor for much coursework being the equivalent of using a Stairmaster to workout. Yes, it does give a workout and elevates the heart rate, but it doesn’t really challenge the person to do and be more. Becker repeatedly points out that this workout is fine, but we can do better. He also asks an important question – why are we wasting so much time and energy on these disposable assignments and stairways to nowhere? It is a good question.

Read the full “Twofers or Disposables? Reflecting On Classwork” post on my Metawriting blog at