College Level Assessment Activities (2008-2009)
The centerpiece of CAM’s effort to enhance its inclusive culture of assessment is the development and launch of a new CAM website. The notion that has informed all discussions about the website was to shift the role of the website from a digital brochure to a mediated digital gallery that showcases research/creative work of students in every course, as well as the work of alumni whose careers have clear linkages to their curricular and co-curricular work at the University of Colorado Denver. To begin building the infrastructure for the website, CAM hired a part-time consultant in fall, 2008 who had extensive experience in professional development. The consultant received electronic copies of syllabi from all faculty (T/TT, instructors, and lecturers), reviewed the syllabi, and conducted one-on-one meetings with T/TT faculty and instructors, and group meetings with lecturers. At the meetings, syllabi were read collaboratively with an eye toward the presence of student outcomes in three discrete areas: knowledge, skills, and dispositions. If a faculty member’s student outcomes were not fully articulated in the syllabi, the consultant worked with the faculty member to craft student outcome statements for each course based on the content and projects contained in each syllabus. If a course had a history of being taught essentially by lecturers, the chair of the respective CAM department assigned a full-time faculty member to review the syllabus and highlight extant or potential student outcome statements. The student outcomes—with edits—were subsequently posted on a wiki site accessible to all faculty and approved by the faculty member. These outcomes would form the basis for artifact collection as the website was further conceptualized.
At the start of the web project in fall 2008 syllabi for a large number of CAM faculty could have been characterized as “content and rule driven.” The shift to an emphasis on learners and learning was a bit problematic for some faculty. Nonetheless, the one-on-one and small group meetings—using Socratic questioning to arrive at student outcomes—facilitated significant self-reflective shifts in faculty thinking and minimized faculty resistance. Many faculty members began using the concepts of “knowledge,” "skills,” and “dispositions” to revise syllabi, course structures, and student tasks/products that could serve as compelling evidence of student learning.
College Level Assessment Plans for 2009-2010
During summer 2009 faculty members were asked to post descriptions of potential artifacts in the categories of knowledge, skills, and dispositions for their regularly assigned courses on the wiki site. The intent of this task was to engage faculty members in defining how student learning outcomes assessment could be captured in text, 2D visuals, and video. Three faculty members (one from each CAM unit) volunteered to serve as models for this task. Their outcomes and concomitant artifacts were sent to all faculty to help guide this phase of the project.
Beginning in fall 2009 faculty members were asked to begin gathering artifacts for their courses and submit their artifacts to the Director and CAM webmaster. Examples of faculty sharing included a short film that captured students’ reflections on their growth as filmmakers in an upper level production course, embedding knowledge, skills, and dispositions in the narrative. Another faculty member shared a film that captured students’ musical performances and reflective commentaries. Another showcased how the students’ work with motion graphics resulted in engaging products. Thus, all CAM faculty were presented with artifacts—films, annotated texts, power points, annotated 2D images—created by their peers—that could capture course learning outcomes and consequently propel comprehensive program evaluation. The faculty also shared strategies for making artifact collection a seamless part of their respective courses, and importantly, to use their students as the vehicles for artifact design and submission.
In February 2010 each program area will meet as a group to review the artifacts submitted for efficacy in meeting the program’s outcomes. A CAM rubric—created by faculty across all areas—will be used as a springboard in assessing the artifacts for quality. These groups will also receive input from students and alumni who will use the same rubric in assessing the artifacts. The aim of this review will be to 1) identify lacunae in students’ knowledge, skills, and dispositions as these emerge from the artifacts; 2) determine ways to address these issues programmatically; 3) explore collectively the creation of new artifacts that could be built into existing courses; and 4) posit innovative approaches that could generate more expansive teaching and learning (e.g., “teamed” projects across courses, co-taught courses, interdisciplinary courses).
Subsequent to the launch of the CAM website (anticipated for May 2010), each program will conduct an annual fall artifact review, and develop an implementation plan pursuant to their findings. Each program will be asked to determine and implement a series of “milestones” that chart a student’s progress toward mastery of requisite content and concomitant skills, and demonstrable dispositional approaches to his/her field. Currently, most CAM programs have implemented “capstone” experiences (e.g., portfolio reviews, culminating exhibitions, senior recitals, thesis defenses). All programs will be asked to review the rubrics used for these capstone experiences and refine as needed. All programs will be asked to explore, create, and implement a three part assessment plan for each of the gateway, milestone, and capstone experiences that includes student self-assessment, peer assessment, and faculty/mentor assessment components. Since “gateway,” “milestone,” and “capstone” experiences are linked to courses, artifact review will help determine programmatic development in these areas.