Knowledge, Skills, and Assignments

Step 3: Review the syllabi for your gateway, mid-curriculum, and Capstone/senior courses to identify Specialized Knowledge and Individual Skills that are common both across the three points in the curriculum and in multiple sections, if offered, of the chosen courses.

Keep in mind, too, that these chosen courses should collectively support your degree program SLOs.

It can be difficult to plan effective assessments or expect informative data if multiple sections of the same course ask students to complete unrelated assignments or feature disparate SLOs.  This is why departments should ensure that the catalog copy of a given course includes a common set of SLOs that all faculty teaching it can use, in addition to any SLOs that they wish to add to their own iterations of the course.

Case Study

Take, for example, the B.S. in Biochemistry, whose gateway course (BCH 110) and Senior Thesis ensure a continuity of Specialized Knowledge and Intellectual Skills.

gateway courseBCH 110 asks students to conduct critical reading of texts that present ethical dilemmas, to engage critically with others' opinions, and to engage with the real-world impact of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology issues (e.g., GMOs) and to write and present on scientific papers. These SLOs can be reflected through various assignments, depending on the faculty member teaching BCH 110, but these outcomes are vital to a student's progress in the program.

capstone courseThis is because when students complete the Senior Thesis in Biochemistry, they must conduct appropriate research, produce the written thesis, and present on their methodology and three different audiences with quite different agenda (faculty, students, and off-campus/professional representatives).

midcurriculum courseMoreover, the mid-curriculum course (BCH 400) focuses on student learning of discipline-specific material and thus continues the foundation of Specialized Knowledge that majors - having learning the basics of research and written and oral communication in BCH 101 - will carry to their Senior Theses.