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Core Objective 1: Effective Composition & Communications

The Silver Core Curriculum does not take effect until Fall 2016


  • Silver Vein I: Fundamental Practice
  • Brief Description of Learning Objective:Students will be able to effectively compose written, oral, and multimedia texts for a variety of scholarly, professional, and creative purposes.

Standards or Requirements for Verification:

The foundation for this objective is built by the Core Writing requirement (ENG 102, or such equivalents as ENG 114), and should be developed by courses for which ENG 102 is a prerequisite. Each major should strive to teach writing within the discipline, and if possible, this objective should also be integrated into the Core Capstone course.

[Note: Core Objectives 1-3 will not be satisfied in the same manner as subsequent Core Objectives. These 3 objectives are not satisfied by a single course. Instead, a foundation for these objectives is built in Core Writing and Core Math requirements, and developed in other General Education courses. A discipline-specific competency should then be developed within the major and integrated into the Core Capstone course. These objectives should be assessed in the Core Writing, Core Math, and Core Capstone courses.

While ENG 102 builds some skills requisite to oral and multimedia communication/composition competency (such as argument development and research skills), skills unique to oral and multimedia formats are not currently included among the student learning outcomes for ENG 102.

Courses building a foundation in this Core Objective will meet the expectations for the Core Writing requirement and should:

  1. Include the Core Objective, together with its brief description, on the course syllabus in its original form.
  2. Include 3 or more student learning outcomes addressing this Core Objective on the course syllabus, along with other student learning outcomes appropriate to the course.
  3. Identify in the course syllabus the teaching techniques and student experiences that will help students acquire the competencies described in the Core Objective.
  4. Assess whether students have acquired the competency described in the student learning outcomes and use methods for collecting and analyzing data that can be reported to the Core Curriculum Board.

Capstone courses that integrate CO1 should include at least 1 student learning outcome addressing composition and communication practices.

Some examples of approved student learning outcomes and assessment methods are listed later in this document. Faculty may incorporate 1 or more of the examples from this list or propose their own student learning outcomes and methods of assessing the objective.


Suggested Student Learning Outcomes & Assessment Methods

Effective Composition & Communication

Students will be able to effectively compose written, oral, and multimedia texts for a variety of scholarly, professional, and creative purposes.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Written Communication SLOs

Written communication and composition skills are built in ENG 102. SLOs include the following:

Students will be able to:

  • improve the writing practices learned in ENG 101: prewriting, composing, revising, responding, editing, attending to language and style, and writing with audience and purpose in mind
  • frame complex research questions or problems in clear thesis statements
  • demonstrate awareness of their own beliefs, concepts, and biases
  • produce a well-supported argument that thoroughly and respectfully considers alternative viewpoints
  • recognize, evaluate, and use in their writing a variety of information sources: expert people, publications of information agencies, popular and specialized periodicals, professional journals, books, and electronic resources
  • conduct research ethically
  • use the appropriate citation style
  • write coherently and observe the standards of academic English

Capstone courses integrating written communication and composition should seek to specify, advance, or broaden the above outcomes. Possible SLOs include:

Students will be able to:

  • produce a lab report that clearly presents research results and thoroughly considers previous research on the topic
  • produce a well-supported argument that makes an original contribution to the field and could be submitted for publication in an undergraduate journal.

2. Oral Communication SLOs

Capstone courses integrating oral communication might feature outcomes like these:

Students will be able to:

  • explain the process, rules, and norms related to a communicative event, and appropriate responses to the communicative event
  • demonstrate the ability to perform oral communication appropriate to a given communicative event
  • display the willingness, readiness, and openness to participate in oral communication exchanges.

These general outcomes might be specified as follows in a presentation of a persuasive public speech (in an academic, community, or professional context):

Students will be able to:

  • explain the difference among organizational structures, delivery types, and audience adaptation necessary to meet speech purpose
  • demonstrate the ability to determine and focus purpose of speech, articulate a thesis, and state ideas directly
  • demonstrate the ability to deliver an extemporaneous speech clearly and expressively using appropriate visual support and nonverbal communication
  • demonstrate the ability to construct and present supported arguments with credible, cited evidence and demonstrate the ability to defend his/her position
  • demonstrate the ability to utilize different persuasive appeals (logical, motivational, etc.) to achieve a particular speaking goal.

3. Multimedia Communication SLOs

Multimedia communication includes but is not limited to webpages, videos, research posters, electronic publications, or visual aids for presentations (Powerpoint, Prezi, etc.). Capstone courses integrating multimedia composition and communication might feature outcomes like the following.

Students will be able to:

  • identify or describe the conventions and constraints (forms, genres, or media, typical purposes, audience expectations) in multimedia communication contexts
  • demonstrate the ability to analyze an existing example of multimedia communication and write a detailed evaluation of design or compositional elements (e.g., layout/page design, typography or print conventions, use of white space, use of color for emphasis, use of animation or video, use of sound or music, editing/cutting best practices, file/media format) that takes into account conventions or constraints of this particular context
  • demonstrate the ability to design and produce multimedia communication appropriate to a given research or creative context (purpose, audience, event, form/genre/medium).

These general outcomes might be specified as follows in a multimedia presentation of research results (poster for conference presentation).

Students will be able to:

  • describe and explain the scientific poster genre, uses of summary, design elements, and audience adaptation necessary to communicate research results effectively
  • demonstrate the ability to summarize information effectively, highlight key results, explain methodology or processes involved both visually and orally if questioned
  • demonstrate mastery of composition practices associated with the genre of the poster presentation (appropriate use of layout/page design, typography or print conventions, white space, color for emphasis, terse and informative responses to queries about poster)
  • produce a multimedia conference presentation that thoroughly and respectfully considers alternative viewpoints.

Direct Assessment Methods

All courses that are verified as satisfying a Core Objective will be assessed on a regular basis to determine how well students are learning the knowledge and skills described in the objective. Instructors are expected to develop ways of directly measuring student learning (through evaluating the work students produce in the course) and to report these measurements to the Core Board upon request.

Written Communication Assessment Methods

Expert readers read a representative sample of ENG 102 student research papers and rate them from 1 (no mastery) to 4 (evident mastery) on demonstration of the above skills and knowledge (e.g., thesis statements, inclusion of alternative viewpoints, proper citation, etc.).

Outcomes in Capstone courses integrating written communication and composition might be assessed by a range of methods, but since they generally result in performances of some kind (papers, presentations, etc.), those performances could be rated by expert raters on relevant outcomes and on scales indicating benchmarks for proficiency.

Oral Communication Assessment Methods

These outcomes might be assessed in the context of a live or recorded student performance by 2 or more expert raters using rubrics keyed to the outcomes with a scale of 1 (little or no mastery demonstrated) to 4 (professional-quality performance).

Multimedia Communication Assessment Methods

These outcomes might be assessed in the context of the poster presentation by expert raters using rubrics keyed to the above outcomes and a scale from 1 (no mastery evident) to 4 (professional presentation).

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