Transparency in Learning and Teaching - TILT

What is TILT?

The Transparency in Learning and Teaching framework, or TILT, is an ongoing research project and community focused on the improvement of higher education teaching and learning for both faculty and students. TILT activities focus on both, "Promoting students' conscious understanding of how they learn," and "Enabling faculty to gather, share and promptly benefit from current data about students learning by coordinating their efforts across disciplines, institutions and countries." 

Why Use TILT?

Have students ever told you or said, "I don't know what to do for this assignment?" Or are you having more students turn in exactly the opposite of what you asked for? Then TILT might be able to help. By focusing on the how and why of learning and assignments, TILT aims to close the equity gaps and challenges that are faced by first-generation, historically under-represented, and minoritized students. The process or templates of TILT do this by promoting a way of unpacking, or making apparent, the hidden-curriculum of courses. By describing the Purpose, Task, and Criteria for Success of any given assignment, students have a better access to the material and opportunity to succeed. And that in turn, helps make our courses easier to teach. 

For more about current state of the TILT project, explore their site:

For more examples of Transparent Assignments and their design, please explore the resources at TILT Higher Ed's Resources page


As a center, we like to bring our faculty the most effective, high impact practices we can. The data from TILT shows that applying their template for instructions with assignments, can improve access and equity in our classes. To make this easier, we've created several TILT style templates for you to use and explore.

TILT Assignment Framework

Structure your assignment instructions using the following four sections. 


Start with a statement describing the purpose of this assignment. In a short narrative, define the learning objectives, in language and terms that help students recognize how this assignment will benefit their learning. 


Define what activities the student should do/perform. 

  1. Step 1
  2. Step 2
  3. Click Submit Assignment in the upper right to choose the upload type for your assignment, Then click Submit Assignment to complete the submission.

Submission Format

Give students specifics on what they should submit, for instance: 

  • Please submit your assignment by uploading a Microsoft Word Document or a PDF file.
  • Please type your assignment directly into Canvas using the online text option. 

Criteria for Success

Define the characteristics of the finished product. Explain how excellent work differs from adequate work. Provide students a checklist of characteristics of successful work. This enables students to evaluate the effectiveness of their own efforts while they are working and to judge the quality of their completed work. 

Indicate how many points this in class activity is worth, whether this activity will be graded and/or how it factors into the student’s overall grade for the course.

The TILT Assignment (Word Document) 

Please feel free to download and fill out this template for any larger assignment you give: CETL Transparent Assignment Template.

When filling out the template, we recommend you also have your syllabus with you, as you will want to make sure your assignment fits into the outcomes for your course. While the instructions may seem daughnting, remember the goal of this transparency framework is to help explain the why and how students are learning the course content in your particular way. 

For more help or practice, consider taking out Transparent Assignment Design workshop, as part of our CETL TEACH Program certificate. 

TILT Assignments and Canvas

For even more ease of use, the CETL team has also applied the TILT framework to several items in Canvas for you to use, much like our word document template. These templates are applied to an Online Assigment, Online Discussion, Reading/Multimedia Assignment (Canvas Page), and an Online Quiz. To access them, explore the Canvas Commons. Or you can watch our video on how to access Canvas Templates on our resource page