Making the Invisible Visible: Illuminating Undergraduate Learning Outcomes Beyond Content and Skill
About the project
Education is more than just content and skills acquisition. It enhances each student’s approach to learning, self-efficacy, professional readiness and disciplinary awareness. However, this learning is invisible on academic transcripts – and to employers and students themselves. Our project will:
- identify these educational learning outcomes
- develop tools to observe, analyse and report them, and
- enable staff to review their learning outcomes to incorporate them.
Our Learning Outcomes Framework will extend across the Arts, Science, Creative Arts and Professional disciplines: English, Psychology, Chemistry, Dance, Music, Law. The model will be used to identify effective university teaching, evaluate innovative course delivery, and enable quality teaching practice to be compared within and across disciplines. It will be relevant to all disciplines in tertiary education, facilitating the practical evaluation of curricula, courses and teaching, and making visible much student learning that is currently invisible.
Student Surveys – A Qualtrix based survey was undertaken with undergraduates in the six disciplines of Psychology, Chemistry, Law, Dance Studies, English and Music and completed by just over 800 students. The purpose was to establish those Invisible Attributes (IA’s) students saw as important in their disciplines. They were also invited to provide comments to help extend the survey data.
Academic Interviews – 17 academic interviews were conducted across the six disciplines. After transcribing they were used to identify IA’s for the purpose of assisting in designing a tool for mapping and observing (teachers) and reflecting upon (students) specific IA’s.
Employer Interviews – At least 2 employers from each discipline were interviewed and asked to describe all attributes they felt students should have developed by graduation that would make them more employable.
All interviews have been transcribed and analysis is ongoing. These are helping inform the designing of a tool for articulating and observing IA’s in the classroom. It is an iterative process and has helped consolidate all team members’ shared understanding of the specific qualities of IA’s that distinguish them from other types of graduate attributes. In developing the tool, the acronym SEEN has been coined: Specify, Explain, Engage and Nudge. These terms form the main headings of a matrix, which is under development and being tested.
In 2016, papers/workshops have been conducted by various members of the research team at the HERDSA conference in Perth, the ISSOTL conference in Los Angeles, the ICED conference in Sth Africa and the TERNZ conference in Otago. Further conference presentations are planned for 2017.
Four two-day workshops with all members of the research team have been held in Auckland and further retreats will be held during 2017.
- Dr Barbara Kensington-Miller (contact project leader), The University of Auckland
- Dr Alys Longley, The University of Auckland
- Dr Amanda Gilbert, Victoria University Wellington
- Dr Sean Sturm, The University of Auckland
- Alison Cleland, The University of Auckland
- Andrea Mead, The University of Auckland
- Dr Bernadette Knewstubb, Victoria University Wellington
- Tom Cairns (Research Assistant), The University of Auckland
- (Industry collaborators are also included in the project’s design)
- Ako Aotearoa $150,000 (excl. GST)
- The University of Auckland $150,000 (excl. GST)
- Project commenced: Start 2015
- Expected project completion: Late 2017
The report from this project is published under the Creative Commons 3.0 New Zealand Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence (BY-NC-SA). Under this licence you are free to copy, distribute, display and perform the work as well as to remix, tweak, and build upon this work non-commercially, as long as you credit the author/s and license your new creations under the identical terms.