The One-Minute Paper

A one-minute paper is simply that: students are given 60 seconds—either at the end of a section of work, or at the end of a lecture period—to jot down on paper some anonymous responses to an aspect of that day's class session. They drop these responses into a box at the front of the class, which you then take to your office. Then you read the responses to get a sense of what the students have learned, where there might be gaps in their knowledge, what aspects of your teaching practice they are responding to, and so on. The function of this exercise is solely to get a ‘dipstick’ measurement that you can respond to in a subsequent class session, by email, or on Blackboard.

Bearing in mind that the students only have one minute to write a response, you might provide prompts like the following:

  • Write down the three key things you learned in today's lecture.
  • In your own words, tell me what you understand about [insert concept here].
  • What was the most confusing point in today's class?
  • How useful was the group exercise that we did in class today? Please give details.

A yes or no answer does not help you much, so it is a good idea to word your question so that it elicits as much detail as possible. If you wish to explore the one-minute paper technique further, please feel free to get in touch with us.