Directed Paraphrasing

Directed Paraphrasing is an exercise in which students provide their own definition or explanation of a concept covered in class. This activity assesses student understanding of a course topic by their ability to translate into their own words.


  1. Select a theory or concept previously studied by the class.
  2. Determine the audience for the paraphrased topic. (Fellow students, laypersons, experts)
  3. Have students write or present the paraphrased topic.
  4. Rate the paraphrase based on the intended audience for accuracy, suitability, and effectiveness.

Tools to Consider Using

  • Paper and pencil – in person
  • Canvas assignment – text entry response (in person or online)
  • VoiceThread – verbal explanation of the topic in response to recorded instructor prompt

Evaluation: Several approaches; – review responses after class to identify misunderstandings. – students exchange responses to identify their own misunderstandings.

At a Glance

Directed Paraphrasing

timerClass Time Requirements: < 10 Minutes

timerPreparation Time: Low

Bloom’s Levels:

Create info Putting materials together to form a unique product.
Evaluate info Making judgments based on checking against given criteria.
Analyze info Breaking materials into parts to determine structures and relationships.
Apply info Using procedures to carry out a task.
Understand info Constructing meaning from information.
Remember info Using memory to recall facts and definitions.

Learn more about Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Associated Technology Tools:
Zoom Yellowdig Yellowdig VoiceThread VoiceThread Yammer Viva Engage (formerly Yammer) TurnItIn Turnitin at Penn State Top Hat Top Hat Pressbooks Packback Packback OneDrive Microsoft OneDrive Kaltura Kaltura Google Docs Google Docs Google Assignments Google Assignments
Associated Teaching Strategies:
Cooperative Learning