Weekly Assignment Instructions

by John Bandler

Many weekly assignments are contained within a Word document you can download and rename.

(If you are looking for instructions regarding phases in the Final Paper Project, see those links below.)

There are usually instructions within that weekly assignment Word document, and possibly a link to this page. I may gradually reduce the detail on the instructions within the Word document, and maintain a full set of instructions here.

In sum

In sum, remember the goals of these weekly assignments -- for you to put in effort and learn. So put in good effort, work on your own, do the reading, pay attention in class (or to the videos), spend a reasonable amount of time on the assignment.

You are in charge of your own learning in life. Use this assignment, course, and all other courses to build yourself. It would be a waste to graduate and gain a degree without the requisite learning. Do not just "google" the answer. Do not use automated writing tools like ChatGPT.


The goal of these weekly assignments is your learning. Please ensure you have put substantial time and effort to do the assigned reading, pay attention in class, for the video or whatever other learning is available. Read the questions carefully and respond thoughtfully. Of course, always do your own work and put in your own effort, because that is the only way to learn and gain confidence in yourself. Proofread and edit your writing, this is practice to improve how you write.

Multiple choice questions would be quicker for everyone, but with lowered learning value.


The current, updated instructions are something like the following

-------------  Delete this line and below here  ---------------

Revised 2/28/2023 by John


  • See the most updated instructions at https://johnbandler.com/weekly-assignment-instructions
  • Download and save this document to your computer and use this document as a template to build your assignment.
  • Rename this document to give your submission document a helpful filename.
    e.g., STUDENTNAME Assignment XX ChXX 2023-xx-xx [use current chapter and current date]
  • Save and submit as a doc, docx, pdf, or text file.
  • Do your own work. Don't collaborate or share with anyone in anyway.
  • Follow your personal honor code and the school honor code.
  • Do not seek assistance from others, nor provide assistance to others.
  • Add a line break after the question before you start your answer.
  • Type your answer after each question. Do not copy and paste your answer from anywhere. Type each character yourself.
  • Do not use any automated tools (translation tools, chat tools, ChatGTP, etc)
  • Make sure you understand and can explain what you wrote.
  • Work alone, do not collaborate with others, do not share questions or answers.
  • This assignment probably calls for short answers, sometimes just a word or a list, sometimes a few full sentences. Look for clues in the question
    • "name", or "list" means list it, name it. Full sentences are not needed. Try to memorize the answer.
    • "Briefly summarize" or "explain" requires a few properly edited full sentences reflecting your thoughts. The sentences should "stand on their own" and not require the reader to refer back to the question.
    • If you are confused or unsure, do your best, and explain as needed.
  • This is open book, use your notes, the coursebook, or the course readings. Always start with course readings. Do not consult Google's magic result.
  • These assignments are a learning aid for you, writing practice, an evaluation aid, and a way for us to communicate regularly.
  • Delete these instructions before submission for a clean submission.

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First and last question

The first question is always something like this:

  1. I hereby state upon my personal honor and upon the school's honor code that I did not gave nor receive any assistance regarding this assignment, and nor will I do so in the future. I did not and will not collaborate in any way. I did not receive any answers from anyone or anywhere. I did not and will not share the questions with anyone, in anyway. Write "I do" if true, or explain if needed.

A main point of this is that your personal honor and personal learning should be more important than just trying to do a effortless submission, or trying to get a quick easy decent grade.

The last question is always something like this:

  • Ask me a question, make a comment, or respond to a prior question I had asked you. Or just share something with me, even if it is not related to this course. (Don’t leave this blank, because this is part of the assignment).

You can tell me whatever you want to tell me, give me positive encouragement, helpful feedback, answer a supplemental question or extra credit question, suggest an improvement to the reading, point out a typo or mistake, let me know about any life issues, or just say hi.

Frequently asked questions

Well, maybe not frequently for all of them. Maybe once for some, or never. But here you go:

  • How much time should I spend?
    • If you are ripping through it in 15 minutes or a half hour, you are probably not spending enough time on it. If you are explaining something or expressing your thoughts in a single sentence, that's probably not enough.
    • If you are writing a book each week and taking 6 hours on it, that's probably too much.
    • If you are skipping the assigned reading and just using Google or ChatGPT to try figure out the answer, you are not following the instructions and course requirements, nor are you getting any learning value.
    • The goals are effort, quality, and learning.
  • I don't know what you are looking for when you ask what I think about "X", or what my opinion is on "Y", What's the right answer to put down?
    • This is your place to develop some thoughts, even opinions, and express them in your own words, thoughtfully. I can't tell you what you think. That's for you to tell me.
  • I see your feedback on a full-sentence response said "Make sure your answer stands on it's own", what does that mean?
    • It means the reader should be able read your answer, without reading the question, and your answer stands on it's own, and doesn't require reference back to the question.
  • Some questions say just to "list" or "name", does that mean that answer doesn't have to be in a full sentence?
    • Yes. Makes that easy, right?
  • Some questions say to explain, summarize, or say what I think. Do I need to write in full proof-read sentences for those questions?
    • Yes
  • I didn't understand what you mean by this question so how do I answer it?
    • Do your best to answer it as best you can, and in your answer you can also explain any uncertainties or different interpretations of the question. Other students are grappling with the same question, and you will face many circumstances in life when you are not sure what someone is exactly answering. So do your best to work through it.
  • Can't we just skip the homework assignments?
    • Sorry, it is something we need to do
  • Wouldn't it be easier if everyone got the same grade, for every submission, no matter the quality of the submission?
    • Maybe, but I'm not sure that is good for learning
  • How come I lost points? I submitted it on time.
    • On time submissions that are excellent get full points. I need to deduct points if it falls below that, and see these guidelines and my feedback. That should provide incentive for you to do your best work and put in effort.
  • Can I resubmit for a higher grade?
    • No, sorry. It wouldn't be fair other others and to me. We need your first submission to be your best submission. Reading and grading is hard work, please don't ask me to do it twice the amount.
  • I lost a point [points], that's the end of the world, right?
    • Of course not. It's a long semester with lots of opportunities for you to show your effort and learning. Don't stress. My grading is holistic.
  • I copied without attribution on an assignment or discussion, and I got a grade of zero (or one), and here's the extenuating circumstances, and can I resubmit or get partial credit?
    • No, sorry. It wouldn't be fair other others and to me. We need your first submission to be your best work , and your own work.
    • Where consistent with fairness, course rules, and school rules, failing the assignment can be an appropriate sanction.
    • But also remember it need not be the only sanction. Please see course and school rules to see that consequences of plagiarism can include failing the assignment, failing the course, and academic discipline up to and including expulsion.
  • I can get the answer quickly and get it written quickly with Google or ChatGPT or other tools, that's OK, right?
    • No, you need to do the course assigned reading, your own thinking, your own typing, your own writing. There is no learning value for you in using AI tools to write for you. Please do your own work, that's the only way you can learn and improve yourself.
  • I like that you don't assign much work, and there's no busywork.
    • Great. Just make sure you are putting in the right effort.
  • Your class is easy, very little work.
    • OK. Just make sure you are putting in the effort, doing the reading, etc. It is possible you are not putting in enough effort nor doing enough.
  • There's too much work. It's taking too much time.
    • I have to have certain things in the course, like assigned reading, discussion and assignments. I don't see how anything could be reduced while still providing the appropriate level of learning value. I could add quizzes, mid-terms, and final exams, but then some students would not be happy about that. A certain number of hours of work are expected for your level of learning in this X credit course.
  • I haven't submitted the assignment yet, can I submit it late?
    • Yes, all assignments must be submitted to pass the course. Better on time than late, but better late than never.
  • I haven't submitted the assignment yet, do I have to submit it?
    • Yes, all assignments must be submitted to pass the course. Better on time than late, but better late than never.

The footer notation

The document footer says something like this:

  • John Bandler’s weekly assignment is copyright John Bandler with all rights reserved.  https://johnbandler.com/
  • This is for individual student use only. Students should do their own work and not assist others.
  • In addition to copyright restrictions, disseminating questions or answers in any way is not allowed and would likely violate school rules and be unethical. Instructions are at https://johnbandler.com/weekly-assignment-instructions/

Discussion board

Discussion is usually a weekly requirement, is a "course assignment" but is not called an "assignment" by the learning management system.

Generally, the discussion requirements are:

  • First post by Tuesday 11:59pm.
  • Quality is the goal. Quality over quantity. Aim for about 200 words and see instructions.
    • Too short and you can't convey a thought properly.
    • Too long and it is a burden to the reader.
  • Thoughtful
  • Your own work
  • Rarely should you need to copy or quote
  • If you copy, you must quote and cite
  • Do your own writing and thinking. (Remember: rarely should you need to copy or quote on a short submission)
  • Discuss and engage with your classmates
  • Learn from them.
  • Share and help them learn from you.
  • Engage throughout the week.
  • Do _not_  just swoop in for a few minutes, post, reply quickly, and never return.
  • Reply posts by Friday 11:59pm (but engage throughout the week). Quality is the goal. Quality over quantity.
  • When you reply, start your reply by addressing the original poster by name.
  • See the specified number of replies. You could do more than the minimum. Again, quality over quantity.
  • Do it with the goal in mind. Discuss, engage, think, write, edit, learn, share.
  • Please do not simply do a google search on terms and then summarize an internet source. Nor should you use ChatGPT or AI tools. Remember, your classmates can use google too and they don't need you to do that for them. So please start with the course materials and your own thoughts, and put in effort to discuss and engage.
  • Give your thread a helpful name. For example, "Student name, topic, Week X".  Where "student name" is your name, "topic" is the topic assigned, and Week X is the current week.


Yes, it would save us all a ton of time if I didn't assign anything. But alas, I need to assign things, and they are an aid to your learning.

Having assigned it, it would save me a ton of time if I just gave everyone full credit for any submission. But I need to read them, grade them, hopefully encourage you to do better. As the saying goes, I teach for free but they pay me (not much) to grade.

And it's great to read those submissions that are thoughtful and collegial, that offer insight, new ways of thinking of something, or even when they point out something that makes my work better the next time (a typo, error, or potential improvement).

Most importantly, you are in charge of your own learning, so use the weekly readings, class, videos, discussion, and assignment to help improve yourself by learning the topic area and improving how you read, think, and write.


Posted 1/13/2023 based on years of teaching. Updated 9/10/2023