CMR Assessment Report--2009

 

Throughout the major, students create personal portfolios that are evaluated collectively by the faculty during the senior year. 

 

Because collection occurs before some students complete the relevant course work, the collected papers serve as a sample, rather than a total representation of this cohort.  Additionally, although statistics may fairly well describe patterns and trends in large population studies, when working with such a small number of seniors, this summary can suggest some outcomes, but is heavily influenced by instances when a single individual is varying from the others.

 

Learning Goals for CMR Majors

  1. Students develop a historical and theoretical understanding of the three areas of Communication, Media, and Rhetoric.
  2. Students use a variety of assigned theoretical approaches appropriate to these three areas to describe and evaluate assigned or chosen discourse.
  3. Students demonstrate advanced mastery of a variety of ways to construct and send messages.

 

 

I. Rhetorical Studies

 

There are two faculty teaching in this area, with one on sabbatical in 2008-09. Therefore, only one section comprises this area: Prof. Neil Leroux’s assessment. The details are below.

 

(A) Learning Objective #1: “Students will develop an historical and theoretical understanding of rhetoric.” The details of this assessment are described below.

 

Learning Objective/Expected Outcome

In this assessment, two expected outcomes of Learning Objective #1 were addressed: (1) students will be able to compare and evaluate various theoretical approaches, and (2) students will demonstrate sensitivity to the historical dimensions of theory building.

Data and Criteria for Assessing

Data are normally drawn from student papers in SPCH 3101, History of Rhetoric from the Classical to Modern Periods, and reviewed.  The criteria for this assessment included: (1) ability to cite sources, (2) ability to paraphrase the messages from the sources, and (3) ability to recognize the describe links between rhetorical theory and historical context. The averages below are based on a 5-point scale (1=poor, 5=outstanding)

 

 

Citing

Paraphrasing

Analyzing

6 Papers

4.1

 

 

4.3

4.4

 

Results and Recommendations: Since the instructor on sabbatical has already instituted a new assessment tool for this Learning Objective in this course, no further recommendations are made at this time.

 

(B) Learning Objective #2: “Students will use a variety of assigned theoretical approaches appropriate to…rhetoric…to describe and evaluate assigned or chosen discourse.” Too few student papers were available to assess this Learning Objective this year.

 

 

II. Communication Studies

Prof. Neil Leroux is the one who did this assessment. The details of this assessment can be described below.

Data and Criteria for Assessing

Data were drawn from student papers in SPCH 3401, Human Communication Theory, and reviewed.  The criteria for this assessment included: (1) ability to cite sources, (2) ability to paraphrase the messages from the sources, and (3) Ability to classify, clarify, and assess/criticize any relevant concepts, perspectives and/or theories. The averages below are based on a 5-point scale (1=poor, 5=outstanding)

 

 

Citing

Paraphrasing

Analyzing

6 Papers

4.2

 

 

4.6

4.2

 

Results and Recommendations: The results show almost no change in “Citing” (from 4.25 in 2007 [not measured in 2008], a modest gain in “Paraphrasing” (from 4.25 in 2007 [not measured in 2008]), and modest drop in “Analyzing” (from 4.75 in 2007 [not measured in 2008]). Since teaching assignments have rotated once again, no further recommendations are made at this time.

 

 

III. Media Studies and Technology

Prof. Barbara Burke is the one who did this assessment. The details of this assessment can be described below.

 

Data and Criteria for Assessing

Scholarly journal article critique papers from CMR or SPCH 3301, Media Theory, were collected for this review.

 

Fourteen papers were analyzed in 2009. The learning objective/expected outcome became identified as comprised by the following specific criteria:

(1)  Ability to cite sources in proper style and format

(2)  Ability to use one's own words to describe the major issues/ arguments/ themes of the article

(3)  Ability to identify and summarize an application of a selected research method

(4)  Ability to identify and describe the relevant communication theory studied

(5)  Ability to write a critical discussion, evaluating the research study conducted by the journal article author.

 

Results

Each criteria was evaluated by a 5 point scale (5= excellent, 0= fail). Each paper was given an average score. Average scores ranged from 4.0 to 5. The "class average" for all averaged scores-calculated to find a "typical" paper"--was 4.7. Specific criteria averages were also studied, to identify areas of strengths and areas needing improvement. Averages for the “class of ’09 ” are summarized below.

 

 

 

Citing

 

Writing/ Summarizing

 

Method ID

 

Theory ID

Evaluation/ Analyzing

 

 CMR/ SPCH    3301

4.5

4.5

4.9

4.6

4.9

 

Evaluation and Recommendations

Overall, outcomes were similar to those of the previous year. 

 

Looking at longer-range planning and curricular development, the element that seems most slow to improve is “writing.”  Students still seem to have less than optimal skills regarding critical reading and explanations of reasoning.  The 3301 course currently has 9 writing assignments, so more will not be added.  Some assignments already have multiple drafting exercises, and some have peer editing or group interaction already.  Such writing teaching strategies seem to be only moderately successful, however.  New strategies might need to be discovered and adopted by the instructor.  

 

IV.  Indirect Assessment

 

This is the first year we have used this measurement.  The following survey was administered to the students in the senior seminar.  Seven of the ten returned completed forms.  The data are summarized in the respective fields.

 

 

We directed: Please answer the following questions in regards to how well you feel you have met the discipline goals. 


 

Strongly disagree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly agree

G1:  I am able to name some communication theories

 

 

14%

14%

71%

G1:  I am able to name some media theories

 

 

 

14%

6/7

G1:  I can define rhetoric

 

 

 

14%

6/7

 

 

 

 

 

 

G2:  I know an approach to use to describe communication experiences

 

 

14%

29%

57%

G2:  I know a method to use to evaluate media effects

 

 

 

29%

71%

G2:  I can use rhetoric to describe a chosen piece of discourse

 

 

 

29%

71%

G2:  I can construct an analysis or evaluation of observable communication interactions

 

14%*

 

14%

71%

G2:  I can analyze media

 

 

 

14%

86%

G2:  I can evaluate rhetoric

 

 

 

29%

71%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

G3:  I have learned what it takes to be an effective communicator

 

 

 

29%

71%

 

Additional comments regarding your learning experience in the CMR major:  NONE PROVIDED

 

( * Note:  14% = 1/7).

***************

Evaluation and Recommendations

The scores suggest that the students feel the curriculum is mostly successful in meeting the learning objectives. 

 

According to student feedback, our weakest area is the Communication sub-field.  This finding reflects the departure in 2006 of our Communication faculty specialist, and the teaching of the courses in that unit done by part-time colleagues and/ or the faculty in Rhetoric and Media “filling-in.”  This provides further evidence for our argument that a teacher-scholar in the field would be essential to our discipline’s health and strength.