Pedagogy Resources

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Table of ContentsGlossary

Outcomes Evidence

What are you hoping your students will achieve? How will you know whether or not they have obtained your objectives? How can you articulate effective learning outcomes and objectives and why should you? Finding answers to these questions will help you build a solid foundation for your course.

Smart goals written out on a chalkboard

Where are you and your students headed?

As you are planning or revising your course, take a step back and think about what you want your students to learn by the end of the term. Think about the important concepts, facts, theories or skills that you want them to take away from the time you’re spending with them. Instead of thinking about all that you need to cover during the semester, think about what is important for students to learn.

Outcomes should be:

  • written as student-centered
  • written with active wording
  • measurable
  • specifically related to learning and overall goals of the course

What Are Course Outcomes?

Course outcomes describe what students should know or be able to do by the end of the course. (e.g. Explain a concept such as uniformitarianism.) Course outcomes shape desired lesson outcomes and help to focus activities and content. Be sure that your course outcomes relate to outcomes determined by your department or program.

What are Lesson Outcomes?

Lesson outcomes describe what students should know or be able to do by the end of the lesson or module. Lesson outcomes are more detailed than Course Outcomes or a subset of Course Outcomes. (e.g. How has the modern view of uniformitarianism evolved.) Like Course Outcomes, Lesson Outcomes help to focus activities and content within a short defined set of time.

How do I know if students have been successful?

This is where you assessments and interactions come into play. After you have a solid idea of what you want your students to be able to do by the end of the term, you can carefully create and plan out your assessments. Consider how the assessments will prove to you that the student has successfully achieved understanding of the outcome or objective. Through a combination of formative and summative assessments, using a variety of assessment types (discussion, home assignments, tests and quizzes, projects and more) you will have a snapshot of your student’s understandings.

Practical Examples

ED F653 Instructional Design

Course Objective
  1. Evaluate and enhance Personal Learning Environments
Lesson Objective
  1. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your PLE
  2. Select appropriate sources to enhance your PLE

Write a one-page reflection paper to address your strategies for continued growth through participation in your PLE. Include progress you made this week in establishing or freshening your Twitter, Diigo and Google+ accounts as well as any other online services or venues in which you participate. If applicable, recount any challenges you faced and what methods you used to overcome them.

ATM 101 – Weather and Climate of Alaska

Course Objectives
  1. Define, describe, illustrate and test the scientific principles that underlie the structure and behavior of the atmosphere
  2. Employ the scientific method in weather and climate (i.e., meteorology), and show how weather and climate science is conducted
  3. Describe and analyze the weather and climate of Alaska, compare it with weather and climate around the world, and identify how it is connected to the global patterns of weather and climate
  4. Plan, conduct, evaluate, and explain, benchtop experiments, weather measurements, and weather observations made with their own instruments
  5. Acquire, organize, analyze, evaluate, combine and use meteorological data from multiple sources
  6. Create their own meteorological reports and present them to their peers
  7. Compare their reports with reports from peers and evaluate the reports of peers
Lesson Objectives
  1. Identify the geography and climate region of their local site using Google Maps
  2. Compose and deliver a screencast presentation of their site and meteorological report.
  3. Compare their meteorological report with the report of a peer

Screencast 2:2. Once you have conducted your weather observations, it is time to create the screencast report as directed in the investigation manual. (Note: An  investigation manual if provided to students which describes how to take the first measurements of the weather using the instruments included in a kit. Students will record observations using the attached worksheets. There are two appendicies: Appendix 1 is an explanation of how to account for magnetic declination when making compass readings, and Appendix 2 is a chart of the Beaufort Scale. Tutorial videos on using the instruments can also be found in the Investigation Videos folder.

Research Foundations

Jones, B. M., & Wehlburg, C. M. (2014). Learning Outcomes Assessment Misunderstood: Glass Half-Empty or Half-Full. Journal Of The National Collegiate Honors Council, 15(2), 15-23.

Kennedy, D. (2009). Writing and Using Learning Outcomes: A Practical Guide. Cork, Ireland: Quality Promotion Unit.

National Institute for Learning Outcomes and Assessment. (2016, May). Higher Education Quality: Why Documenting Learning Matters. A Policy Statement from the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, Author.


UAF Instructional Designers

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