Outcomes vs Objectives for Institutional Assessment

I’ve written previously about the difference between outcomes and objectives.  During a recent institutional effectiveness workshop, I’ve come to the conclusion that the same issue exists when assessing administrative units.  From what I’ve experienced and seen, current institutional effectiveness and continuous improvement practices for the administrative assessment efforts lead to the same blending of outcomes and objectives that I’ve observed and noted on the instructional side of the house.  A few examples and an explanation of how to approach it differently . . .

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A changing focus… Learning & Assessment in Higher Education

CHANGE!  My online, professional digital footprint is changing, evolving, updating.  EdTechatouille, the focus of the site for the past 6+ years, is disappearing into the background.  I have given the site a slight makeover to highlight my current professional focus and interest: learning and assessment in higher education. It’s a subtle change to the presentation of the site, but the substantive change is significant.

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Lower level learning outcomes in college level courses?

Bloom’s Taxonomy is exactly that – a taxonomy, not a heirarchy.  And, students of many ages are capable of higher order thinking skills (e.g. my then 9yo daughter) like application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation; of course, students will exhibit different levels of proficiency and different levels of complexity in their thinking.

Here’s my question… Should there be any college level course that has learning outcomes that are predominantly, or worse yet, entirely at the lower levels of thinking per Bloom’s Taxonomy?  Is there any instance in which the outcome of the course should not be an ability to analyze, apply, synthesize or evaluate content related to the discipline? Continue reading

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My thoughts, as faculty, on #LectureFail

The Chronicle of Higher Education asked,

Is it time for more widespread reform of college teaching?

This series explores the state of the college lecture, and how technologies point to new models of undergraduate education.

Last month, we began inviting students across the countries to fire up their Web cameras or camera-phones to send us video commentaries about whether lectures work for them.

Chronicle.com/LectureFail displays a number of student comments, including a compilation, along with several faculty responses.

As a faculty member, as I watched several of the videos, I found my beliefs and attitudes to be more in line with the students than my faculty colleagues.  Personally, lectures are boring… for me… as a faculty member. I don’t like them, and pedagogically and historically, I find them to be an outmoded approach to teaching and learning. Why?

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Incentives for Course Feedback?

I work closely with end of course evaluation surveys.  At one institution, I administer the online survey system through which we survey students, and for the other institution, I rely heavily and place high value on feedback from students to help me continuously improve the course.  My question is, “How much is that feedback worth?” Continue reading

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