Assigning Academic Posters, Apr 2015

Spring is in the air, the semester is winding down, and we are all looking ahead to the summer break; this is the point in the semester when creating and grading assignments can become particularly repetitive and mundane.  It is therefore the perfect time to try an interesting, new style of assignment—one that can also be used as an assessment tool—that highlights your students’ learning and encourages them to interact with one another and perhaps their campus or greater community as well.

Academic Posters can do all that.  They afford students, or groups of students, who have been working on research projects the opportunity to display and share their findings in a clear, concise and accessible fashion.  Posters offer a combination of text and images (graphs, figures, photographs) that often contain the following:

  • Title
  • Author
  • Introduction (purpose or hypothesis)
  • Summary (evidence)
  • Conclusions
  • Works Cited

Because the amount of information that can fit on a poster is limited, students are challenged to condense material down to its most basic parts to create an attractive yet rigorous academic product.

By organizing poster sessions within your classroom, as a whole-school or department event, or in the broader community, you can help your students to share their learning with others.  When students display their posters at sessions, discussing their work in detail with all who stop by, they become an active part of their academic community.  And, let’s face it, assessing work as students present their posters with pride can be much more fulfilling than grading a pile of exams only for them to be thrown away immediately afterward.

See these links for details on assigning posters and poster presentations:

If you do not have time for a poster session or funds for the materials, consider moving the assignment and resulting session online.

Feel free to contact the Institute for Teaching and Learning at for more details about creating posters.