Engaging Assignments

I like the concept of engaging. Throughout my time teaching at the university, I experimented with various types of assignments that encouraged students to engage with the class readings on a deeper level. Here are some examples:

GLBT 1001: Intro to GLBT Studies, Fall 2008

Engaging Assignments. Throughout the semester, you must complete 5 brief assignments that are designed to allow you to engage with the material beyond your own reading or our discussion of it.

GWSS 3004: Contemporary Feminist Debates, Spring 2010

3 Direct Engagement Entries: You are required to post responses (as new entries) three times during the semester. These entries, which should be 200-250 words, must respond to the question/s posted by Sara or Michelle for that week. To get full credit, your responses should draw upon the readings for that week. While these entries can be informal, they should be thoughtful and demonstrate a serious engagement with the questions and the topics of the course. See other sheet for list of due dates.

6 Responses to others’ direct engagement entries. You are required to post comments on other students’ direct engagement entries for six different weeks. Your comments should be thoughtful and respectful and they should demonstrate a serious engagement with the issue and with the author of the entry.

GWSS 1001: Politics of Sex, Spring 2011

Engaging Assignments. Throughout the semester, you must complete several assignments that are designed to allow you to engage with the course materials/concepts beyond your own reading or our discussion of them.

GWSS/GLBT 4403 Queering Theory, Fall 2011

3 Direct Engagements with the Readings

You are required to write 3 entries in which you engage with our course readings. There is no word count requirement. Your entry can be as long (within reason) or as short as you think necessary in order to demonstrate a critical engagement with your chosen reading/readings. By critical engagement I mean that your entry clearly demonstrates: a. that you have closely read (that means more than once or even twice) the reading and b. that you have thought through it in terms of appreciation, critique and construction.


  • At least 2 readings from class
  • 1 Queer This! (yours or someone else’s)
  • Another Student’s Direct Engagement
  • Whatever else from our blog or other blogs that is relevant

Combine all of these to make an entry in which you critically reflect on the following question: What is queer/ing? You don’t have to provide a definition of queer (although you can), just an engagement with the question and with your various sources. This entry is your opportunity to articulate your own vision and to offer it up to others to reflect on. Be creative and push yourself to engage deeply with our blog/readings. Good luck and have fun!


The purpose of this entry is to revisit an entry, reading, or topic from early in the semester and to critically reflect on how your perspective has shifted (or been reinforced) during the course of the semester.

Comments on other DEs

You are required to comment on 2 other direct engagements. Your comments should demonstrate a respectful and critical engagement with the post author’s entry. You can build off of what the post author is saying or raise some critical questions of their summary/assessment of the topic of their direct engagement. The purpose of these comments is to further our blog/class conversations and our exploration of the readings/topics. Therefore, make sure that your comments are respectful and aimed at opening up more discussion as opposed to shutting it down.