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Washington State University Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning

Engaging Students with Case Studies

The case study method is a pedagogical approach which asks students to investigate real-world problems presented as a descriptive case about which decisions must be made. The case is a narrative, often presented without a conclusion. Case studies are distinctly problem-centered assignments, often completed in a group format – requiring students to work together with others as a team, analyze a problem, synthesize knowledge, and apply their learning to communicate a resolution to the case’s central challenge. All well-designed case studies clearly indicate student learning objectives and include assignments, enabling authentic assessment of student work. Case studies can be used at many levels and in many settings; they are widely used in undergraduate general education classes, as well as in courses for the major.  » More …

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 …

Smith Teaching & Learning Grants: Creating New Ways to Educate Students

WSU faculty with instructional responsibilities are welcome to apply for Smith Teaching and Learning Grants to fund innovative ideas that enhance teaching and learning at WSU. This year, the Smith Teaching and Learning Grants are giving priority to projects that seek to improve teaching and learning in ways brought to light by the degree’s assessment, sustainability, or student success in large classes. Proposals are particularly sought for innovations that demonstrably enhance undergraduate student learning. Applications are due March 30, 2017 with up to seven grants awarded for up to $7,000 each.  » More …

Students’ NSSE Responses Make a Difference: Encourage Your Students to Take the NSSE Survey

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) opens February 7, with email invitations to all WSU seniors and first-year students. Now is the time to encourage student participation and underscore the value of student input to continually improve the student experience at WSU. To support strong response rates – and thus provide more reliable input from students – we ask that faculty utilize the below suggestions for messaging out to students about NSSE (both in and out of the classroom).  » 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 …

Visualizing the Curriculum (Interior Design)

Room 118 in Carpenter Hall in the School of Design and Construction contains tables stacked with syllabi and assignment prompts. Every wall is covered with design presentation boards and other student work. The room holds course materials from every required course in the Interior Design curriculum along with samples of student products from all courses for about 20% of their students. This spring, peer evaluators from the Interior Design professional accrediting organization, the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA), visited campus and this room served the important function of demonstrating to the evaluators how the curriculum meets CIDA’s nearly 100 criteria for student skills and knowledge.  » 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 …

Teaching Consultations and Feedback

WSU Teaching Academy members are pleased to offer several individual services for the Washington State University teaching community:

  • Class Observation/Syllabus Analysis and Feedback
  • Guidance for Creating Teaching Portfolios and/or Preparing for Tenure or Promotion Applications
  • Individual Mentoring
  • Group Mentoring

To request a service, send an email to Chuck Munson, Teaching Academy Chair, at:
Requests can come for Teaching Academy members from the same college within WSU or completely different colleges. Academy members are willing to share feedback with supervisors, or the feedback can remain confidential, depending on the desires of the instructor. Mentoring relationships could occur with regularity or more infrequently, but would not generally involve meeting more than once per month.

For more information see:

Science Literacy at WSU: Teaching and Assessment (UCORE)

Last year, WSU piloted the use of the Science Literacy Concept Inventory (SLCI) to assess whether the curriculum as a whole is developing scientifically literate students. The SLCI is designed to gauge students’ grasp of science as a way of knowing and of the scientific processes required for personal decision-making, participation in civic affairs, economic productivity and global stewardship. SLCI measures students understanding and misconceptions of twelve science literacy concepts. The SLCI has been validated and used at universities across the nation; it takes a multi-disciplinary approach rather than focusing on content from one discipline. » More …

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