The University of Texas at Austin
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Suggestions for Assignments

Faculty have used a wide range of assignments to structure students’ work during their Connecting Experiences. Generally, the faculty mentor for a Connecting Experience will work with the student to determine what the academic requirements will be for the experience.

In some instances, the BDP office may ask the student to adjust the requirements and basis for grading during the contract review process; in these cases, the student is responsible for contacting his or her faculty mentor to see if the revised requirements are acceptable. One common reason we might ask the student to revise the requirements is that the student’s proposed experience is not connected clearly enough to the student’s BDP topic and strand. In these cases, we may ask the student to add on a supplemental assignment designed to draw these connections. A second common reason for asking the student to revise the requirements is that the requirements outlined in the contract appear to be either too light or too heavy for a one-semester course.

What follows are some suggestions for possible assignments for each of our three types of Connecting Experiences: Research, Internships, and Creative Projects. These suggestions are not meant to be either prescriptive or exhaustive, but rather to offer you some ideas.

Research Experiences:

Research Connecting Experiences may either take the form of an independent project or a research assistantship, and the assignments will vary accordingly.

  • For any type of research experience: A poster presenting the research. The student might be asked to submit the poster to be presented at the annual Spring BDP Poster Session in April. The Office of Undergraduate Research provides workshops to help students create posters. For more information about this option and resources, please contact Emily Watson.
  • For any type of research experience: A short film (or podcast, or web site, or creative project, etc.) that incorporates the student’s learning from the research experience.
  • For a research assistantship: Weekly or bi-weekly reading assignments to help connect the research project to the student’s own BDP focus, with short, written reflections on the readings.
  • For a research experience for a student with no prior research experience: A series of assignments to help the student learn about the research process (e.g. develop a research question, conduct secondary research and produce an annotated bibliography, practice relevant research method(s) and write up a summary of the results, write a short report on findings and possible directions for continued research).
  • For an independent research project: A research paper (of a predetermined length) due at the end of the semester, with ongoing progress reports or drafts turned in at specified points during the semester.
  • For an independent research project leading to a thesis: An annotated bibliography and a detailed proposal for a thesis project to be completed in a later semester.
  • For a research experience abroad: Regular written reflections and questions sent by email, leading to a research paper on the experience once back in Austin.
  • For any type of research experience: Students write a 3-5 page reflection essay that they turn into the BDP office for any Connecting Experience, and you might require the student to also turn in the reflection essay to you.

Internship Experiences:

  • A blog or journal with weekly entries discussing what the student has learned through the internship activities.
  • Several reading assignments designed to help the student place the internship experience within the academic context of the student’s BDP topic and/or discipline. Students may be asked to write up short reports or reflections on the readings.
  • A short film (or podcast, or web site, or creative project, etc.) that incorporates the student’s learning from the internship experience.
  • Case study assignments based on some facets of the internship experience.
  • A concluding paper at the end of the internship, in which the student reflects on how the internship expands on his/her understanding of his/her