8 The Minute Paper

Bloom’s Levels:
Understanding, Applying, Analyzing


The Minute Paper takes – well, just about a minute – and while usually used at the end of class, it can be used at the end of any topic discussion.  The Minute Paper is a formative strategy and participation in the activity is normally not assessed, but it could be considered as part of a participation grade.

Between ending a synchronous session or an asynchronous lesson, ask students to submit a quick one-minute paper/response about what was discussed in class.  Give students time to submit  and set a deadline (such as by the end of the day or immediately after session or lesson).  They work well at the end or the beginning of class serving either as a warm-up or wrap-up activity.  If it is a wrap-up activity, consider giving students a heads-up at the start of the class that this will be included so they have time to process their thoughts throughout the lecture/lesson. Minute Papers can be used frequently in courses that regularly present students with a great deal of new information.

Minute papers are most useful in large lecture or lecture/discussion courses, although the technique can be easily adapted to other settings, i.e., lab session, study-group meeting, field trip, homework assignment, videotape.

Responses can be submitted using text, or audio. Use a text-entry assignment on a learning management system, so students don’t need to figure out uploading a short document, Google Docs, Polling Software: Mentimeter, PollEverywhere, Zoom, MS Teams, Socrative, Miro. Many LMS systems also support submission of an audio file as a response.




1 (Poor)

2 (Acceptable)

3 (Good)


Number of events or examples identified




More than two


Descriptions of events or examples


Incomplete response with brief mention of both events or examples; or only one item discussed

Partial response includes accurate summary of one event or example, limited description of second item

Full response includes an accurate summary of each event or example


Why was event or example meaningful?

No response

Student offers brief or perfunctory response (i.e., “because they were important”; “they affected lots of people”)

Student offers a well-reasoned response to support one of their choices

Students outlines a clear personal or cultural or scientific (or other) reason to support both of their choices








Technology Used

To create: Use a text-entry assignment on a learning management system using an anonymous discussion forum thread, online form submission or classroom response software. These may include Google Docs/Forms, Microsoft Forms, or Polling Software/functionality available through Mentimeter, PollEverywhere, Zoom, MS Teams, Socrative, Miro, etc.

To submit: Learning Management System, online form, classroom response platform, web conferencing poll tool, Email

Facilitation Tips

The Minute Paper’s major advantage is that it provides rapid feedback on whether the instructor’s main idea and what the students perceived as the main idea are the same.  By asking students to add a question at the end, this assessment becomes an integrative task.  Students first organize their thinking to rank the major points and then decide upon a significant question.  Instead of asking for the main point, the professor may probe for the most disturbing or most surprising item.  The Minute Paper is a very adaptable tool.

  • Innumerable Formats: Signed, Anonymous, At the beginning, Midway through the class, At the end, Individual, Collaborative, Graded, Ungraded, Paper, Online
  • Provides quick, simple way to collect feedback
  • Quick to administer and easy to analyze
  • Useful in large classrooms when interaction is minimal
  • Allow students to reflect on their learning experience
  • Encourage active learning that is recognized as best
  • Students know that their instructor values their opinions

Sample Questions

Instructors can use all or a combination of the following questions, depending on their teaching goals and time alloted. If you truly do have one minute, one or two is sufficient.

  1. What are the two [three, four, five] most significant [central, useful, meaningful, surprising, disturbing] things you have learned from the lecture?
  2. What question(s) remain uppermost in your mind?
  3. Is there anything you do not fully understand? If yes, what?
  4. What questions remain unanswered?
  5. When you hear the word________________________, what is the first thing that comes in your head?
  6. Why is today’s topic of ____ important?
  7. List three types of the__________________________?
  8. Write your reaction to the lecture so far?
  9. What is the most important thing you learned in class today?


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