Adapting Assessment Processes
Despite the disruptions and challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council for Learning Outcomes Assessment (C-LOA) received nearly 270 Learning Outcomes Assessment Updates from undergraduate and graduate programs. Although some programs were forced to postpone their assessment activities, many programs saw this as an opportunity to realign their assessment processes with the current needs of the program. The following section highlights three programs that adapted their learning outcomes assessment processes in various ways.
Geology - BS, BSLAS
The program explored the extent to which students were receiving sufficient experiences in honing and applying interpersonal skills in a professional setting through group work, research activities, and field studies. Due to the pandemic, the normal capstone that most students would have taken to demonstrate these skills was canceled. To ensure students had an opportunity to demonstrate these skills, faculty members developed and offered a six-week, intensive field camp that was taught entirely online. Students collected field data, worked with remote geologic datasets in Google Earth and ArcGIS Pro, created geologic maps and cross-sections, and wrote geologic field reports via Zoom. The program now has sufficient data to assess student learning.
Learning and Education Studies - BS
The program changed the format of student learning for the capstone project. Traditionally, students demonstrated learning through face-to-face experimental or observational data collection studies. In response to the pandemic, students worked with their faculty mentors to develop alternative ways to demonstrate learning which included remote or online data collection. Additionally, responding to issues raised by the increased focus on racial inequality and injustice in America, the program saw an opportunity to incorporate culturally relevant materials into several courses through readings and activities that addressed inequities and social justice within the contexts of both formal and informal education. These adjustments have stimulated discussions about how faculty can better address race, justice, and equity issues in their classes in a meaningful and respectful way. Faculty plan to unpack and assess the effectiveness of these efforts at the end of the year.
Library and Information Science - MS
At the beginning of the spring term, the program was on track to make significant progress toward their assessment capability, which included addressing the lack of direct evidence available for their assessment efforts. While they were not able to actively evaluate learning, the pandemic has given the program additional time for the LIS committee to re-evaluate their program learning outcomes, as well as the assessment questions they want to explore moving forward.