Get inspired by Jari Osborne’s Inspiration Story Assignment! 

Jari Osborne, MOPA instructor, used an ungrading approach to deepen students’ learning and self-reflection. Let’s learn how! 

In her words . . .  

I wanted to let you know how happy I am with the Inspiration Assignment that I designed for two of my MOPA classes. I wanted them to start thinking about the power of storytelling. The assignment simply asks each student to tell a story about something that inspires them.  

After all the students presented their short inspiration stories, I invited them to come up to the whiteboard, grab a marker and write words on the board that described things (stories, emotions, elements of presentation, a look, a smile, a laugh) that resonated with them. I asked them to think about what was memorable but not to overthink it. 

Having them self-grade their inspiration story was fantastic! I didn’t tell them they would mark their own assignment until after we’d discussed the presentations as a group. 

Then I gave them all a very simple form to fill out:  

  • Upon reflection, my presentation could have been stronger if I … 
  • Give yourself a mark out of 10.   

It was so fascinating.  The two classes reacted so differently.  One was very open, boisterous.  The other, quiet, thoughtful, at first reluctant to share – I think because the nature of the last three presentations had been so personal and involved loss and grief.   

The very surprising and powerful thing was that after the activity had ostensibly ended, during the break, the students kept silently walking up to the board and continued to add to the words that had already been written.   

The final board was covered all over with words and phrases in different colours, sizes; it was so moving.  And I know from their thoughtful written reflections, that they learned!  The activity lit a path forward for both my students and for me. 

I want to acknowledge Mary Giovannetti for helping me shape this assignment and for giving me the confidence to run with it.  She is such fun to work with and makes me a better teacher! 


Jari Osborne
Instructor, Motion Picture Arts