Skip to main content

Posts

Better Objectives, Better Course

By Star Boe, Senior Instructional Design Specialist  Objectives can go by many names. Learning Objectives, Outcomes, Learning Outcomes, Student Learning Objectives (SLO), Student Learning Outcomes (also SLO) are just some of the terms you will hear. While some educators feel strongly about one term over another, I am going to just proceed with the generic term "objectives." Let me explain what I mean when I use the term objective. Dictionary.com defines objective as "something that one's efforts or actions are intended to attain or accomplish; purpose; goal; target." The connection to effort and intention go well with the expectations we have for students as they engage with our material. However, I don't like the connection that is drawn to "goal." Instructors often start with a goal. Goals are broad and often aspirational, such as:  Students will appreciate art from a wide variety of time periods, styles, and techniques. Students will acquire an
Recent posts

Increasing Engagement Through Diversity and Inclusion

Almost all disciplines have long-standing traditions within their field that are the most widely accepted methods of conveying information to students. In a few specific traditional lecture courses, particularly Art History lectures, there is usually little room for discussion. Instead, there is one room, one projector, and an onslaught of slides and images all shown in the dark which only helps to create a comfortable environment for students to drift off and wake up suddenly when the light switch is abruptly flipped at the end of class. In addition to this issue, there have been many concerns as to how those images are chosen, how the information is presented, and which parts of the art history timeline are given more attention than others. This seems to be of importance for many areas of study, however these issues came to light for me through teaching Art History. Hip Pendant Representing an Iyoba Queen (‘Queen Mother’). 16th century. Nigeria, Court of Benin, Edo culture. (Metrop

Online Teaching & Learning in the Time of COVID-19

This past August faculty members from VSCC attended the University of Wisconsin’s Distance Education Teaching and Learning Conference. Like so many other conferences being held during the time of the pandemic, this four-day teleconference offered a large variety of online sessions, interactive and streaming, focused on the how to best meet college students’ needs to help them be successful during these challenging times. One of the most refreshing and valuable aspects of this year’s conference was the focus on how online higher education and educators are working hard to meet the moment of our current national situation. Not only did keynote addresses and session discussions center on the challenges of distance education during the pandemic, but also many discussed the ways to create antiracist curriculum as we address concerns voiced by the Black Lives Matters Movement. The keynote speaker, Dr. Newton Miller, focused on how faculty can connect real-world issues to our teaching, remin

Virtual Learning 2020: Reimagining Chemistry Online

The year 2020 has been an extraordinary and challenging year, to say the least.  However, as educators teaching chemistry, a subject that requires problem-solving and critical thinking, we were abruptly forced to solve the problem of delivering course content for lecture and lab amid the pandemonium of a pandemic, COVID-19.  A year ago, neither of us would have thought it was possible to deliver an online version of chemistry that was equivalent to our on-ground course.  However, the silver lining of the pandemic was the innovation, collaboration, and modification as we agreed we will not do our students a disservice in the continuation of a quality education. March 2020, as we departed campus for our annual spring-break we never imagined what was to come; NO ONE CAN RETURN TO CAMPUS?  We had a week to get our courses ready to be completely online. But did online have to mean the traditional format that so many of our students refer to as “teaching themselves” (asynchronous). Could w