Convergence of Knowledge and Skills

Step 2: Consider where Specialized Knowledge and Intellectual Skills converge in your curriculum, and identify a gateway, a mid-curriculum, and a Capstone/senior course in your curriculum.

Whichever courses you choose, these three moments should allow you to assess both types of knowledge and skills in a longitudinal fashion from majors' progress from 100-level courses to his/her senior year.

Pay particular attention to the fundamental competencies of written and oral communication and critical thinking and use of information.

*N.b., if your department offers Silver Core Vein II (Core Objectives 4-8) or Vein III (Core Objectives 9-12) courses, these may represent convenient opportunities for introductory and/or mid-curriculum assessment, particularly if the course(s) is also required for the major. If you offer Core Objective 13 or 14 courses, these are ideal for senior-level assessment.

Case Study  

The Communication Studies department has 7 published program Student Learning Outcomes:   Students will be able to do: 1) Demonstrate knowledge of the communication studies discipline, including its theories, concepts, and how the study of communication is applied to academic and non-academic settings 2) Demonstrate competency in systematic inquiry and research methods including asking questions, finding appropriate resources and/or conducting independent data gathering and analysis, while understanding the limits of research methodologies 3) Demonstrate competency and confidence in oral message development and delivery, including determining and focusing message purpose, organizing appropriate information, and effectively presenting a message appropriate to specific audiences and contexts 4) Demonstrate competency and confidence in written message development including adapting message to specific contexts, mediums, and audiences 5) Demonstrate competency in communication in relational settings (interpersonal, intercultural, group, and organizational environments) 6) Demonstrate competency in communication for public advocacy contexts 7) Demonstrate competency in being an ethical communicator in for our increasingly diverse and globalized world.  

Owing to a range of Silver Core offerings, this department has many opportunities for assessing student learning in gateway, mid-curriculum, and Capstone/senior courses. For example: 

gateway courseCOM 113 (Fundamentals of Speech Communication) addresses several introductory-level knowledge and skills in its SLOs, including "principle methods of inquiry [and] guiding theoretical perspectives," identifying "basic public speaking principles, including audience analysis, rhetorical devices, persuasive appeals, and features of argument," and such skills as "problem-solving, decision-making, and conflict management." In sum, the SLOs of COM 113 underpin many program-level SLOs (at least 1-5 above) and collectively offer a moment for assessing various Intellectual Skills.

mid curriculum courseThe SLOs of COM 311 (Communication Research Methods) largely support program SLO 2 above and thus offer an effective assessment moment for Intellectual Skills. 

At the same, the SLOs of COM 407 (Communication Between the Sexes) and 412 (Intercultural Communication) specifically support program SLO 7 and offer opportunities to assess Specialized Knowledge.

capstone courseFinally, the SLOs of two Capstone options, COM 468 (Facilitating Difficult Discussions) and 475 (Communication and Community Engagement), specially address program SLO 6, while generally reflecting most of the B.A. program's SLOs. Being Capstones, they combine Specialized Knowledge and Intellectual Skills.