2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 1:45 PM


MURRAY, Daniel P., Geosciences, Univ of Rhode Island, Woodward Hall, Kingston, RI 02881 and KORTZ, Karen M., Physics Department, Community College of Rhode Island, 1762 Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln, RI 02865, dpmurray@uri.edu

Our college, committed to converting all majors to an outcome- and assessment-based format. Towards this end the college agreed upon a consistent set of broad outcomes, and they formed the basis for 44 geology outcomes that address content, quantitative skills, communication skills, and personal development. Each outcome is embedded in at least two courses, so we can assess outcomes over time. We have identified the course assignments and other extracurricular activities that will be assessed, and over the next two years will incorporate them into the new curriculum. In order to efficiently manage this curriculum we are employing an E-portfolio system that provides the following things: 1) a way in which students can easily see what materials they need to produce for assessment, as part of the evaluative component of the outcomes; 2) a way in which students can upload the materials to be assessed as demonstration of achievement of outcomes; and 3) a database of information on the changes in skills and attitudes of students over time, which is of great value in evaluating the program. Over the course of this project we have identified several aspects that are critical to its success. The faculty and the administration must be genuinely committed, and this may require release time or other incentives for faculty. This is an iterative process, and the conversion of a course will often reveal changes that need to be made in the course in order for the course to satisfy the outcomes. Also, one should not begin to implement a portfolio until you have a well thought-out curriculum. Students and faculty will ultimately realize the benefits of these changes, but the learning curve can be steep. Thus we are preparing an academic roadmap, a visually-compelling and easily accessible overview of our outcomes -compliant geoscience major. This roadmap will show the relevance of the major through video clips and graphics of geologists working on exciting earth science topics. This is a long-term process, and you should allow at least 5 years for the development of this program. In the talk we will present our outcomes, the E-portfolio, and the academic roadmap. We would be pleased to share the various experiences we have had in developing them, and look forward to input from others who have chosen this path.