By Natalia Panfilova
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – On Dec. 5 Camden County College held a workshop on learning outcomes. This was a hands-on follow-up to a workshop conducted by Soheila Kobler, associate dean of academic assessment at Raritan Valley Community College.
On Dec. 5, 16 teachers from different faculties met in Madison 105 to develop a clear statement of learning outcomes.
The term “learning outcomes” is synonymous with instructional objectives and learning objectives. The main purpose of the course was to improve teaching.
The first meeting on learning outcomes was held on Oct. 3. Alex Breve, assistant dean of academic support, said: “It all has to do with pedagogy. The first workshop was a lecture. And this is a follow-up to that. So, tonight, teachers are going to be working in small groups, actually writing students learning outcomes. It is going to be a hands-on workshop.”
Kobler spoke on how in a simple but specific way, teachers could describe what learners would know and would be able to do as a result of learning activities, in other words, what a student will gain from the course.
Kobler said every course should develop critical thinking, ethical reasoning, information literacy and ability to work in groups. She said many teachers think these are the objectives of the general education courses only. However, Kobler stated all these outcomes should be included in every course.
At the beginning of the meeting, teachers collaborated in small groups to review their course objectives and to improve them. After a short discussion, Kobler showed a presentation to give a better understanding of what the outcomes should look like.
Dan Banks, who visited the workshop the first time, said: “I thought it was a great presentation. It reinforced some of the things that our deans and vice presidents have already been urging us to embrace. It provided a new perspective for certain aspects of the outcomes.”
The meeting started earlier then it was originally scheduled. But because the time of the workshop was extended, those who were late still had a chance to ask questions and see the presentation.
Some of the teachers stayed after the event to talk with Kobler. Among them was Tish McGee. “I really think that our student learning outcomes need to be rewritten,” McGee said. “I came with the outcomes that are in the syllabus. So, I’m trying to get some guidance and help to make them more assessable.”