Extra credit in higher education can sometimes be perceived as a means of grade inflation or a watering down of the educational experience, yet there are benefits to including it in your course. How surprising would it be to know that extra credit can provide students with opportunities to increase their grades and support the course content? Here are a few ways you can include extra credit without just giving away free points.
More Than Just Participation
Supplemental Material – Giving points to optional readings or other content that supports the lesson, but would otherwise add too much to the course workload based on curriculum standards.
Low-Stakes Activities – Giving points to practice quizzes, discussions, and other activities that fit in the lowest level of Bloom’s Hierarchy is a good way to incentivize students to memorize content.
Events – Give points to students who attend campus events that support your course content. Presentations, cultural fairs, and club meetings are some of the things students can be encouraged to attend, and having them write a reflection paper connecting the event to lessons shows they did more than just attend, they paid attention.
Revise an Assignment – Allow students the option to reattempt a low-stakes quiz or revise an assignment for a better grade. You can allow them to choose a couple of submissions with subpar grades and have them try for a better grade. The second attempt could motivate them to really prepare for the task and approach the re-submission with a clearer plan.
Put the Points in Gradebook
Carmen does not have a built-in setting for extra credit, but there are several ways to work around this. Care must be taken when using these methods because course settings and/or weighted assignment groups can become an obstacle when calculating grades. The following methods link out to the Canvas Instructor Guide. There, you will find instructions for each method and more information about adding extra credit to your course.
- Zero Point Value Assignment
- Add Extra Points to an Existing Assignment
- Fudge Points in Quizzes
- Extra Credit in a Rubric
- Add Extra Points in Speedgrader
- Assignment Groups
- Weighted Assignment Groups
- Errors with Weighted Assignment Groups
We recommend partnering with an instructional designer to devise a strategy for adding extra credit to your course in the next offered semester. Planning extra credit opportunities ahead of time and including them in your syllabus and course calendar is a good way to communicate with students your method for handling extra credit before the mad dash at the end of the semester.