Are you working on a syllabus for a 500 or 600 level course at Wichita State? If so, remember to include additional outcomes and assignments for graduate students who are taking your course. This is a required step unless the catalog restricts enrollment in your class to undergraduates only. If you would like to hear a 15-minute discussion on the many issues surrounding these requirements, have a listen to this podcast with Dr. Kerry Wilks. If you are ready to get to work, read on!
Per the new syllabus template instituted by Academic Affairs in 2016, all undergraduate courses that allow graduate student enrollment must require graduate students to meet different outcomes with respect to their undergraduate classmates. You can meet this standard by adding additional outcomes, writing entirely new outcomes, or writing your outcomes to address higher-level thinking.
The current syllabus template bases its outcome model on Bloom’s Taxonomy, which presents a hierarchy of measurable cognitive learning events that range from knowledge to comprehension. A typical undergraduate class would tend to have most of its measurable learning outcomes coming from the three foundational learning categories: knowledge, comprehension, and application. A typical graduate class would have more of its measurable learning outcomes rooted in the three advanced learning categories: analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
When writing outcomes for a 500 or 600 level course, you should consider first tackling the outcomes associated with your undergraduate students, and then adding two or three additional outcomes that will incorporate the higher-level learning you will expect from your graduate students.
If you follow this model, your course outcomes may look something like this:
At the completion of this course, students will be able to:
- label the countries on a map,
- classify world economies by wealth distribution, and
- apply Marxist theory to each economic system.
In addition to the outcomes above, graduate students in this course will be able to:
- calculate the relative wealth of each country’s citizens using the U.S. dollar as a standardized currency and
- argue which country’s citizens have the best standard of living.
In this example, the undergraduate students label (knowledge), classify (comprehension), and apply (application) the information in your class. The graduate students also meet these outcomes, but in addition, they calculate (analyze) and argue (evaluate) that information. This is just one example. You can meet this standard in a variety of ways. If you would like assistance in writing outcomes for your class, the Instructional Design and Technology office has the expertise to assist you.
Once you have your basic (undergraduate) and advanced (graduate) outcomes in place, it is time to turn to the course requirements. According to the university’s syllabus template, “If a course is at the 500 or 600 level, there must be a differentiation between undergraduate and graduate assignments matched to the learning outcomes.” For example, you might require an additional research paper or ask graduate students to teach a class meeting. Anything will work so long as it fits the needs of the course. The critical thing is that there is a differential in the requirements for the undergraduate and graduate students.
This means that not only will your graduate students have to submit graduate-level assignments, those assignments can then be tied to their enhanced learning outcomes for a very robust course design. Taking the example above as a guide, additional assignments might include a comprehensive worksheet where graduate students do the actual currency calculations and then a paper in which the students make their informed argument about standard of living.
If you are facing challenges in writing measurable learning outcomes, IDT has created some information to assist you, and you are always welcome to come in for an individual consultation.
- Basic primer on learning outcomes.
- Active verbs and a formula for foolproof outcomes.
- University Syllabus Template with Outcome Language.