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By Terri J. Matiella, Ph.D.
UTSA 2020-21 Next-Gen Faculty Fellow
Co-Director, Core Curriculum and Assessment for Environmental Science
Senior Lecturer, Department of Environmental Science and Ecology

We all want our students to not only understand the material, but to also relate it to something that makes it interesting and personal. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, why not use a photo – instead of a paper or essay – to see what students have learned across any discipline and subject area?  It can replace an assignment or be used as a wrap up for a unit, with bonus points toward an exam. 

Photo assignments can be created in Blackboard as an AssignmentDiscussion Board, or Padlet. Students can create a photo via Adobe Spark or find one with Adobe Stock or Pixabay and upload it, with a short (3-5 sentences) narrative describing the main concept of a unit/topic, or how the content is relevant to their lives. This allows students to consider what image best represents the concept, think about it critically, and process ideas through their own lens. 

  • What do I know? 
  • How do I show/explain it?
  • How is this relevant to me?