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Washington State University Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning

March 28 Faculty Panel – Capstone Courses: Developing and Refining the Culminating Experience for Seniors

On March 28, Academic Outreach and Innovation (AOI) and the Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning (ATL) hosted a faculty development workshop, “Capstone Courses: Developing and Refining the Culminating Experience for Seniors”. A WSU faculty panel of participants in last summer’s Capstone Assignment Design Charrette with Dr. Pat Hutchings shared their experiences developing and refining their capstone course and key assignment, including ways to more deeply engage students and more effectively integrate learning in a culminating experience.  » More …

May 2017 Assignment Design Workshops: Open for Registration

The Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning (ATL) is pleased to offer two assignment design workshops this May, designed to assist instructors in designing and refining assignments to more effectively foster and assess student learning, while increasing possibilities for student success. Developing powerful, clear assignments is one of the most consequential intellectual tasks that faculty undertake in their work as educators. Assignments impact student learning, yet that work is often private and unavailable for collegial exchange and knowledge building.  » More …

Assignment Design Support for Faculty and Departments

The Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning (ATL) is pleased to offer collaborative assignment design charrettes and mini-workshops to WSU faculty and departments, adapted to meet goals, needs, and individual or group contexts. Developing powerful, clear assignments is one of the most consequential intellectual tasks that faculty undertake in their work as educators. Assignments impact student learning, yet that work is often private and unavailable for collegial exchange and knowledge building.  » More …

Assessing Student Learning at the Senior-level: Spring 2016 CAPS Course Assessment Reports (UCORE)

How are students doing on WSU’s Undergraduate Learning Goals? Are UCORE Capstone (CAPS) courses providing students an opportunity to integrate and apply what they have learned throughout the curriculum, bringing closure to their undergraduate experience? To answer these and other questions, UCORE CAPS Instructors completed UCORE CAPS Course Assessment Reports to gauge student learning at the near-graduation level.  » More …

Faculty Work to Enhance Learning in Capstone Courses: Hutchings Workshop

DSC_0138WSU faculty had a unique opportunity over the summer to enhance high-impact culminating senior experiences for students. On May 25-26, WSU hosted a two-day workshop with Dr. Patricia Hutchings, senior scholar with the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), and previously senior scholar and vice president at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, where she worked extensively with the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.  Thirty one faculty participated in the workshop, representing 24 departments and 4 WSU locations. Workshop participants shared a capstone (senior-level culminating) assignment with peers in conversations intended to help guide assignment revision as a summer follow-up activity. The assignments were from both UCORE capstones and other capstones for the major. » More …

Integrated Learning and Assessment in the Capstone (Landscape Architecture)

Each spring, WSU’s Landscape Architecture seniors get the chance to experience a landscape outside of the classroom and to interact with the people who live in, work in, and care about that landscape. Their senior capstone course is a service-learning studio that challenges them to generate designs in response to the needs of a particular place and people, applying their knowledge and skills in a real-world setting. The title of the capstone course, “The Confluence,” reinforces this goal: similar to the junction of rivers, students are asked to merge many things into one, integrating their prior learning and experience. The senior project embodies more than a compilation of skill sets, however; it is an opportunity for students to develop, expand, and challenge all they have learned–to see and create anew.  » More …

Assessing Students’ Preparation to Meet the World’s Agricultural and Food Challenges (Agricultural and Food Systems)

Should more producers utilize bovine growth hormone to meet the 100% expected increase in global food needs by 2064? This is the sort of question tackled by students in Agricultural and Food Systems (AFS). In the AFS senior capstone course, students are provided with the opportunity to apply scientific inquiry, critical thinking, and problem solving skills in a team setting to analyze agribusiness challenges and to develop original research related to issues in agricultural and food production. Small student teams are partnered with an industry representative, who they work with throughout the semester to create a strategy for addressing a problem or creating an initiative for the company, replicating the challenges students will face in the professional work environment.  » More …

Assignment Design Workshop: Registration Deadline April 25

PHOTO - Pat Hutchings

WSU faculty teaching senior culminating academic experiences (often called capstones) for an undergraduate degree or UCORE are invited to a unique summer opportunity to explore integrative learning and assignment design.

WSU is proud to host a two-day workshop with Dr. Patricia Hutchings, senior scholar with the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) and previously senior scholar and vice president at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, where she worked extensively with the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.  » More …

Assessing Student Learning in CAPS Courses: 2015 CAPS Course Assessment Report Pilot (UCORE)

How are students doing on WSU’s Undergraduate Learning Goals? Are UCORE Capstone (CAPS) courses providing students an opportunity to integrate and apply what they have learned throughout the curriculum, bringing closure to their undergraduate experience? To answer these and other questions, the UCORE Committee piloted the UCORE CAPS Course assessment report to gauge student learning at the near-graduation level.

Established as part of WSU’s general education curriculum (UCORE) beginning in 2012, UCORE CAPS courses must be at the 400-level and require students to demonstrate at least four of the seven university learning goals: Critical & Creative Thinking, Communication, Information Literacy, and Depth, Breadth & Integration of Learning. “As the culminating academic experience, CAPS courses provide the opportunity to assess student achievement near the end of their studies,” explains Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Mary Wack. “In addition, since many of the UCORE CAPS courses are designed for particular majors, these senior projects offer rich opportunities for useful assessment for both general education and undergraduate degrees.”  » More …

Supporting Student Success in a Capstone Course (School of Molecular Biosciences)

In which areas do students tend to succeed when doing senior capstone projects and in which areas do they struggle? How can we support their preparation for senior level coursework? These are some of the questions faculty in the School of Molecular Biosciences (SMB) sought to answer with a program assessment project over the last year. The results have helped target their efforts to support student success.  » More …

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