The topic of “learning objectives” and “measurable outcomes” is ubiquitous in higher education right now. In many of the conversations you might have come across already, there is an assumption that learning outcomes are necessary, and debate around how to write them, share them, measure and scaffold them. We’d like to debate the assumption: that learning objectives are necessary, and/or objectively (see what we did there) good.
Although we don’t want to throw the proverbial measurable baby out with the objective bathwater, let’s begin EPIC with a little pedagogical heresy: we’d like you to read and discuss a number of positions that argue against learning objectives, especially ones that you state explicitly for your students. We ourselves have been wondering, as Gardner Campbell puts it, if our obsession over learning objectives is leading our students “toward compliance and away from more elusive and disruptive concepts like curiosity or wonder.”…ask the question with us and tell us what you think!
Read + Discuss
- The Unhappiness Principle by Frank Furedi
- In Defense of Learning Outcomes, by Roopika Risam
- Understanding and Learning Outcomes, by Gardner Campbell
- We Make the Road by Walking, Ch. 1, a conversation between Myles Horton and Paulo Freire
Check out and participate in the discussion on our #reading-group channel in Slack. What questions do these pieces raise for you? (Where) Do you agree and disagree? What’s missing from the debate?
Join the discussion anytime. If you’re interested in a faster-paced conversation, log-in on Friday at lunchtime. We’ll chat live from 12-1!
Write a letter to your students about why you’re here, teaching this course, and where you hope to go from here (with them?).
Write 3 course-level learning objectives. You may use a maximum of 3 words per objective and must use at least one emoji/gif/meme — you’ll probably have to use multiple 😉
Post your writing in the Slack channel, #build. Note that with all of these builds, we are looking for rough drafts. Post what you’ve got and feel free to include comments/reflection on your process. Instructional designers will give feedback, and you should too. Check Slack often, read what your colleagues have created, and respond.
iTeach+: Writing Better Course and Module Objectives
Tuesday, January 30, 12-1pm
Join in-person @ 145 Bunnell
Anyone can join us at a distance by following this link!
If your course objectives are unclear to students or if your assignments don’t accurately reflect whether students are meeting those objectives, you might need to rewrite them! Bring your objectives with you and any rubrics or assignment instructions you have for your students and let us help you rewrite things so your course makes sense!
See our faculty development calendar for more iTeach+ options this week.
Tuesday 2:00 – 4:00
Wednesday 1:00 – 3:00 (virtual open lab)
Friday 10:00 – 12:00