Developing a Policy Brief and Website on a Health and Development-Related Topic

In this assignment, students developed a website with essays as blog posts and a 5-page policy brief on health and development, using Google Sites and incorporating multimedia elements.

Author: Amm Quamruzzaman, Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Studies Field
Course Number & Title: ISF 100K: Health and Development
Grant Type: Lecturer Teaching Fellows Program (LTF)

This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

policy brief
Assignment Title Developing a Policy Brief and Website on a Health and Development-Related Topic
Delivery Format In-person

High Impact Practices (HIPs) Categories

(Review definitions for each category)

  • ePortfolios & Multimedia Storytelling
  • Undergraduate Research
Learning Objectives 
  • Develop critical thinking through readings, discussions, writings, and presentations
  • Learn how to write a policy brief to inform policymakers on a social problem
  • Learn how to design a website to disseminate knowledge and be part of a social movement through online activism and blog posts
Brief Summary of Assignment Students were given 3 assignments to develop a website on health and development related topics. After receiving my comments on each assignment, they must address the comments to improve it. Then, they must develop a website with the essays as blog posts. The final website also needed to include a 5-page long policy brief to inform policymakers on how to address a current or future health and development challenge(s). A detailed guideline was provided to help students create the website by using Google Sites. They were also asked to attend my regular office hours to get approval on the policy brief topic as well as to get help with the website development. The website could also contain relevant YouTube videos, database, pictures, and personal information with vision and mission statements.
Innovative Teaching Reflection This assignment provides significant educational benefits for students. Most students want to solve a social problem. The assignment gave them an opportunity to address a social problem not only from an academic point of view but also through their own engagement, namely online activism. They owned the assignment as they developed their own website and talked about their own vision and mission regarding an issue. They also built upon previous assignments and posted them as blog posts, thus developing a “bigger picture” of the topic they were interested in.
Assignment Length Three assignments and a class presentation are sequentially built on each other for the final assignment; each is about five pages long. Each assignment is posted at least two weeks prior to the deadline and most students could use the class lectures to gradually complete the assignment. That is, an assignment is based on about four lecture topics covered in two weeks.
Impact & Feedback

Many previous students commented that the assignment/course was eye-opening and the innovative teaching approach was beneficial for them as they learned not only the “theory” but also how to “practically” address a pressing issue.

Assignment Details See handout.