University of Minnesota, Morris
MINUTES-1997-98 CURRICULUM COMMITTEE MEETING #4
November 25, 1997; 8:00 a.m.; Behmler Conference Room
Present: Asmus, Ballou, Beiswenger, Ellis, Kissock, Korth, Lee, Leroux, McIntosh, Nylander, Schuman, Taylor
Absent: Farrell, Frenier, Thielke
Guests: John Bowers, Karen Johnson, Roger McCannon, Nic McPhee
[In these minutes: approval of general education categories for political
science quarter courses, discussion of GenEdWeb project, assessment of general
education, semester materials defined as administrative or action]
MOTION (Kissock, Ballou): To approve the curriculum change proposals from political science: Pol 1300 (add C2), Pol 3230 (add W), Pol 3267 (add W), Pol 3267H (add W).
At this point, Schuman was called away from the meeting and turned the
chair over to Kissock.
McIntosh wondered why these changes were being proposed now. Some of
the changes are retroactive. He thought the CC should discourage retroactive
changes. Kissock indicated that Lee, as Chair of the Division of the Social
Sciences, would have an opportunity to answer McIntosh's question at a later
VOTE: Unanimous in favor (9-0-0).
[At this point, Lee arrived at the meeting.]
Schuman returned to the meeting and resumed the chair. He asked McCannon
for comments on GenEdWeb. McCannon thanked the CC for inviting him and the
GenEdWeb Steering Committee to the meeting. Kissock serves as faculty coordinator
to the program. The statement in the 11/19/97 memo answers the question
of how the GenEdWeb program fits with the mission of this campus. University
College, formerly Continuing Education and Extension, administers the program.
As background, McCannon said the idea for GenEdWeb started about a year
ago when Ruth Thielke (the Registrar) sent an email message indicating that
she was seeing a lot of institutions creating web-based courses and she
wondered if UMM should get involved. The Dean picked up on this, had a more
thorough discussion with interested people, and decided UMM should be doing
this. Dan Granger, Director of Distance Education for the University of
Minnesota, came out to UMM for a visit. Granger oversees the Distance Education
Council which has funding for institutions wanting to get involved in distance
education. UMM applied for and received a $23,000 grant from the U of MN
Distance Education Council, another $30,000 was granted by the University
College Program Innovation Fund, and UMM supplied an additional small amount
of funding. The funding has been used for stipends for faculty to develop
web-based courses. Six courses were developed over the summer of 1997. The
total number of courses in the program will eventually be about 10, matching
the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum. When a student completes the entire GenEdWeb
program, he or she will be given a certificate verifying completion of the
MN Transfer Curriculum which can then be taken to any college or university
in Minnesota and used to meet the general education requirements at that
McCannon said this project has been on a fast track. Of the six courses
developed this past summer, two had enough enrollment to be offered this
fall. Another five courses will be offered in the spring. All of this positions
UMM and University College as players in the distance education market.
Distance education is a priority for Mark Yudof, U of MN President, and
Bob Bruinicks, Executive Vice President and Provost. More money is being
made available within the University of Minnesota for web-based instruction.
We need to build this into our campus planning statement. There are lots
of student support issues and faculty issues involved with this project.
There has been a steep learning curve. The 11/19 statement gives more background.
Schuman commented that this is an important project--one that he has
supported from the beginning and that he continues to support. None of the
people involved in the project is unambiguous. UMM is clearly the kind of
institution that has as a core a very strong learning interaction between
human beings sitting in the same room, etc., but Schuman also thinks that
the kind of virtual learning represented by GenEdWeb is clearly an emerging,
perhaps "emerged," element of extraordinary importance in American
higher education. What has persuaded him to support the project is the scary
thought that it is going to happen without us if we don't become involved.
The University of Phoenix, with 60,000 students, didn't exist four years
ago. It is a for-profit, computer-based institution. Schuman is convinced
that if schools like UMM don't make a serious effort in this area, then
it will be done for us and we will be swept aside. Our choice was to do
this or to bury our heads in the sand and let it happen around us.
McIntosh said you can also spin it the opposite way. It is not the "best
liberal arts institutions in the region" that are doing this. It is
part of the schizophrenic nature of UMM to be doing this at all. UMM is
the liberal arts campus of a major research university and it is the continuing
education and extension branches of major universities that are providing
web courses. Kissock said GenEdWeb is offered by a major research university.
He is teaching one of the GenEdWeb courses. Quality is a key issue. Defining
what quality consists of is not easy. If there is anything that UMM is,
it is undergraduate education. In 32 years, this is the first technological
tool that Kissock has seen that offers everything he needs. How do we try
to use that? One of the first things the GenEdWeb faculty asked was whether
they could use the web technology in their day school classes. Faculty are
already asking to do that. We need to take the best of who we are at the
same time we are moving toward the best technology.
Schuman noted that GenEdWeb is an experiment. All of the people involved
in the project are watching to see how it goes. It is not a bad thing for
UMM to experiment now and then.
Leroux asked if there was any limit put on the number of credits that
students can earn in this way. Schuman said that most students would be
transferring the credits in. McCannon corrected him: GenEdWeb courses are
like UMM evening classes. If students complete all ten, then they will have
met the general education requirements. Schuman noted that we have said
that UMM students can't use GenEdWeb courses in place of a regular UMM class.
McCannon said the intent was to offer this program to outside students.
Ballou wondered what the relationship of the GenEdWeb courses is to the
Curriculum Committee. McCannon said the campus approves the courses in the
normal way. The GenEdWeb program has not had to seek approval because all
of the courses in the program have been approved previously. McCannon said
he did not see GenEdWeb as a CC issue. The purpose of coming to the meeting
was to inform people about the project. The GenEdWeb Steering Committee
had offered to visit other campus committees as well.
Schuman said there was no more time for this discussion. He wondered
if CC members wished to continue the discussion at another meeting. McIntosh
remembered that the CC had set up a subcommittee 3-4 years ago to develop
a policy on ITV courses. He suggested that the CC set up a similar subcommittee
now to develop a policy on web-based courses. Schuman wondered if the Academic
Support Services Committee (ASSC) should be asked to look at this issue.
McIntosh thought it should be a short-term, ad hoc subcommittee of the CC.
Schuman wondered if the CC wished to have McCannon present at the next meeting
when this is discussed. McIntosh said he was sure Kissock could represent
the steering committee.
Schuman said the ASLC believes assessment should be done by the unit
responsible for the activity. There isn't a unit responsible for general
education. Oversight of the program was by the General Education Committee,
but we abolished that committee last month. So now, the responsible unit
is the Curriculum Committee. The CC needs to work with the ASLC to figure
out how to assess general education at UMM. This is a weighty task. Schuman
suggested that it might make sense to form a joint subcommittee with the
ASLC to take on this task. The subcommittee could have 2-3 members from
the ASLC and a student, faculty member, and Division Chair from the Curriculum
Committee. Another alternative would be to have every person teaching a
general education course say how they are assessing the student learning
in general education. Where does the CC wish to go with this?
Leroux wondered if the assessment was of how the course meets the general
education requirements or how the student is learning in general education.
Schuman said the assessment should be of student learning in the context
of the goals of general education rather than the overall goals of the course.
We need to study not whether the institution is teaching general education,
but whether students are learning general education.
Kissock said we are being asked to assess things that he instinctively
feels we cannot assess. For instance, in ELTAP, neither he nor the student
involved will ever be able to tell someone exactly what they learned. Schuman
said the assessment doesn't have to be quantifiable, although NCA does like
to have numbers. Kissock suggested surveying students about whether the
course helped them move on in liberal education. Schuman thought a focus
group might work where students are asked what they learned. Kissock said
whatever method is used, it will have to be subjective. Ballou suggested
pre- and post-tests. It could be done randomly. There are ways to assess
general education. One question is when to do it. It could be done on a
pilot basis at the beginning.
Leroux thought the CC was thinking along the lines of having a committee
do the assessment rather than having each faculty member do it. Schuman
said he was interested in hearing from students. Nylander said she would
not want to do be assessed for general education learning after taking 90
credits at UMM. At that point, she didn't have many general education courses.
Taylor suggested surveying graduates about what they feel they have learned.
Nylander said the survey could be sent to students after taking a general
education course asking them if they felt the course fulfilled the requirements.
Kissock commented that the ASLC are experts on this. The CC could give
them some suggestions about how to do it. Schuman did not think the ASLC
would want this assignment. They might suggest a joint meeting so they could
give the assignment back to the CC.
Leroux thought a general education assessment committee should have members
from both the ASLC and the CC. Could we look at the 90 credits of GER alone,
or would we have to look at how the general education courses work with
the rest of the courses in a student's degree? Ballou suggested that the
subcommittee gather ideas to present to the ASLC and CC. There is a short
MOTION (Ballou, Nylander): To create a subgroup of the CC and ASLC to solicit ideas from across the campus and report back to both parent committees.
Kissock suggested keeping the subcommittee small--4 members. Schuman
said he wanted three members from the CC.
VOTE: Unanimous in favor (10-0-0).
Schuman asked for student, faculty, and Division Chair volunteers. The
following people volunteered: Taylor, Kissock, Leroux. Schuman said he would
take this motion to the ASLC.
Mooney is wondering which of this information should come through the
CC for approval. After some discussion, it was decided that most of the
information on the Addendum should be considered administrative. The only
question from the Addendum which the CC would like to see is the question
about repeatable courses. Mooney will prepare a summary of the repeatable
question responses, similar to the GER listing. The CC also wishes to review
the GER designations, but not the quarter prerequisites.
Leroux commented that the totals on the types of the courses might be
Meeting adjourned 9:00 a.m.
Submitted by Nancy Mooney
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