Illustrated Course Notebooks

A few years ago, when I was still controlling the mic at the classroom podium, I gave my class an assignment to make an illustrated notebook, rather than a final paper.  The purpose of this was to encourage students to go through their notes from 15 weeks of class and re-think them, integrate them in new ways. The idea was to reinforce the knowledge that was already presented.

I couldn’t grade the assignment on the quality of the illustrations, since this was not an art class and I don’t feel qualified to judge art.  Instead, I graded the notebooks by the quality of the notes and how they were integrated with each others and with the illustrations. I wanted to see students make connections, express how they felt about the lessons from the course. I wanted to see their doodles, their maps, graphs, charts, and other diagrams that they used to organize and remember historical data.

I’m not certain of the value of this pedagogical innovation, but I enjoyed the process and the results.

From a lesson on how to debate: the student included my lame joke about Doritos!


From a lecture on the history of transportation. I’m not sure this is a workable design for a bicycle.

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