Center for Teaching, Learning & Engagement

@ Glendale Community College, Glendale, Arizona, USA

It’s Time for Students to “RSVP” for Class

Need a short and easy assignment that allows you to assess learning at multiple levels? Have students RSVP for class!

For those of you ending your semester, this could be adapted to be a final course reflection with suggestions provided below. For those of you thinking ahead to next semester, consider including the RSVP as a regular or periodic assignment.

Designing the RSVP

Ask students to respond to four prompts, one for each of the letters in RSVP.

Reflect. Reflect on how some aspect of the material relates to your life. How will your behavior or thinking change as a result of something you learned?

Hint: My textbook includes personal application questions, and I allow students to respond to one of those questions if they prefer. Some students benefit from the added structure. For courses that do not lend themselves to personal application, consider providing a content-related prompt to guide reflection. In terms of response length, because I use these every chapter and this is intended to be a brief assignment, students are asked to respond in “three sentences or more” to this item and the next one.

End-of-Semester Adaptation: What is the most meaningful thing you learned this semester? Why was it meaningful to you?

Summarize. Summarize one specific concept presented in the material. Why did you select this concept?

Hint: Students may need coaching to identify the appropriate level of detail required. When students in my classes had trouble, they often provided responses that were too broad, like trying to summarize the chapter, rather than focusing on describing a single concept within that chapter.

End-of-Semester Adaptation: Summarize one concept that you think everyone leaving this class should know. Why did you select this concept?

Vocabulary. Write out and define, in your own words, one word that is new to you. Where in the material did you hear or read this word?

Hint: I encourage students to define a content-related word but allow them to define any word that is new to them.

End-of-Semester Adaptation: This course introduced many new vocabulary words. What words stood out to you? Have you noticed others using these words or have you used any of these words yourself?

Pose a question. What information needs more explanation? What questions did this material inspire you to think about?

Hint: For my asynchronous class, I decided to make this item optional so students asked questions only if they truly were interested in the answers. This allowed me to have more time to respond to those questions. When I teach synchronously and use this in my flipped class, I require every student to ask a question to help me plan review or discussion.

End-of-Semester Adaptation: Consider switching from Pose to Peers. What advice would you give your peers taking this class next semester?

Grading the RSVP

When I use this assignment weekly, I use a simple 3-point rubric for each of the three graded items.

  • Reflection: (1) Appropriate topic of reflection. (2) Identify how your thinking or behavior has or will change as a result of something you learned. (3) Minimum of 3 sentences.
  • Summarizing: (1) Appropriate concept. (2) Detailed description of concept. (3) Minimum of 3 sentences.
  • Vocabulary: (1) Spell word correctly. (2) Define word in your own words. (3) Identify source.

The Pose item, because it is currently optional, is ungraded.

Want the RSVP?

Email and I will send you the Canvas assignment so you can adapt it to fit your course. If you adapt this assignment, please share your version with me so we can learn from one another.


RSVP idea credit belongs to Meghan Kahn, PhD, from Indiana University Southeast, as re-shared by a colleague on the Society for the Teaching of Psychology discussion board.

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