Speech Communication Discipline Report for the ASL Committee

 

         The Speech Communication Discipline (SPCH) has been divided into three areas, according to the classes taught by the existing instructors: (1) Rhetorical Studies, (2) Media Studies and Technology, and (3) Communication Studies. Therefore, this report will be divided into three parts accordingly; each part will provide the results of their students’ learning assessments and its own recommendations.

The assignments assessed in this task were drawn from upper level classes in the major. The scale of five was generally practiced (5= excellent, and 0= fail). Please keep in mind that each area may have their own difference in assessment details because of the nature of each area, but they have come up with the results and recommendations that will help determine the directions of the areas and the discipline as a whole. The data in this assessment report are the written assignments, as available, done by the students in the major who graduated in spring 2003. (Throughout the major, students are asked to create personal portfolios, which are evaluated collectively during the senior year.)

 

I. Rhetorical Studies

 

         Because there are two faculty members in this area, there will be two sections in this area: (1) Prof. Mary Elizabeth Bezanson’s assessment and (2) Prof. Neil Leroux’s assessment. The details are below.

(A)       Prof. Mary Elizabeth Bezanson’s Assessment

Prof. Mary Elizabeth Bezanson is the one who did this assessment, based on Learning Objectives #1 (“Students will develop an historical and theoretical understanding of…rhetoric….”). The details of this assessment can be described below.


Learning Objective/Expected Outcome

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

Data and Criteria for Assessing

Data were drawn from 11 student papers 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.


Results

The results were given according to the types of criteria. The details are given below:

(1)         Ability to cite sources—student average: 4.27 of 5.0.
(2) Ability to paraphrase the messages from the sources—student average: 3.90
of 5.0.
(3) Ability to recognize the describe links between rhetorical theory and historical context—student average: 3.36
of 5.0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Citing

Paraphrasing

Analysis

Variety of Classes

(11 papers)

4.27

3.9

3.36

 

Recommendations

For program adjustments, there are two recommendations:

(1) In response to Result #2, a session to the Classical Rhetoric course taught in the Fall in which students read and then paraphrase assigned pieces should be added.

(2) In response to Result #3, the book for Classical Rhetoric should be changed to one that focuses more explicitly on the historical dimension of the development of rhetorical theory.

Remarks: The instructor actually looks forward to seeing how future groups compare in their abilities with this first group.

(B) Prof. Neil Leroux ‘s Assessment

Prof. Neil Leroux is the one who did this assessment, based on Learning Objective #2 (“The students will use a variety of assigned theoretical approaches appropriate to…rhetoric…to describe and evaluate assigned or chosen discourse.”). The details of his assessment can be described below.

 

Learning Objective/Expected Outcome

In this assessment, the expected outcome of Learning Objective #2 was addressed: “The students will be able to choose from a variety of methods to describe and evaluate a specific act or artifact."

 

Data and Criteria for Assessing

Five papers were reviewed from one assignment in SPCH 3203 (Variable Topics in Public Address: African American and Female Discourse) and assessed on three criteria: (1) ability to cite sources, (2) ability to paraphrase the message from the sources, and (3) ability to analyze the discourse.

 

Results

The results were given according to the types of criteria. The details are given below:

(1)         Ability to cite sources—students averaged 4.4 of 5.0.

(2)         Ability to paraphrase the message from the sources—students averaged 4.7 of 5.0

(3)         Ability to analyze the discourse—students averaged 4.6 of 5.0.

 

 

Citing

Paraphrasing

Analyzing

SPCH 3203

(Five papers)

4.4

4.7

4.6

 

Recommendations

For program adjustments, an additional writing step in two courses that have discourse analysis assignments is desirable, whereby revisions of the previous draft are required. Also, writing problems must be handled, but the instructor will not “fix” the problems. Rather, students are required to figure out how to fix them themselves, with assistance from the instructors.

 

Remarks: None

 

II. Media Studies and Technology

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

 

Learning Objective/Expected Outcome

In this assessment, learning objective (#2) was addressed: "The students will use a variety of assigned theoretical approaches appropriate to…electronic mass media to describe and evaluate assigned or chosen discourse." The expected outcome was stated by our assessment documents as: " The students will be able to choose from a variety of methods to describe and evaluate a specific act or artifact."

 

Data and Criteria for Assessing

Throughout the major, students create personal portfolios which are evaluated collectively during the senior year. Data described in this study reflects the work of the "class of 2003," including papers written in 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003. (These dates reflect the UMM change to semesters, and the start of a new curriculum "core" for the major.) Scholarly journal article critique papers from SPCH 3301 Media Theory were collected for this review. Seventeen papers were analyzed. 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 1.4 to 5. The "class average" for all averaged scores-calculated to find a "typical" paper"--was 4.01. Specific criteria averages were also studied, to identify areas of strengths and areas needing improvement. Citing average: 4.2 Writing average: 3.9 Method average: 3.9 Theory ID average: 3.8 Evaluation average: 4.2

 

 

Citing

Writing

Method

Theory ID

Evaluation

SPCH 3301

4.2

3.9

3.9

3.8

4.2

 

Recommendations

For program adjustments, three changes are being considered:

(1)         A stronger methods survey unit to be implemented in the media theory course.

(2)         Addition of a greater opportunity for students to propose and design research projects within the media theory course.

(3)         Selection of a different textbook which more clearly offers simplified descriptions of relevant theories used by contemporary researchers.

 

III. Communication Studies

 

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

 

Learning Objective/Expected Outcome

In this assessment, two learning objectives and their expected outcomes were addressed:

 

Objective #1: Students will develop an historical and theoretical understanding of…communications….

Expected Outcomes:

(1) Students will be able to compare and evaluate various theoretical approaches.

(2) Students will demonstrate a sensitivity to the historical dimensions of theory building.

Objective #2: The students will use a variety of assigned theoretical approaches appropriate to…communications…to describe and evaluate assigned or chosen discourse.

Expected Outcomes:

(1) The students will be able to choose from a variety of methods [italics added] to describe and evaluate a specific act or artifact.

 

 

In general, the students are expected to be able to compare, evaluate, and choose a variety of concepts, theories, and methods; to describe and evaluate a specific act(s) or artifact(s); and to assess their work’s quality."

 

Data and Criteria for Assessing

Final papers from three courses during 2001-2002 academic years were reviewed: (1) SPCH 3401 (Human Communication Theory), SPCH 33411 (Intercultural Communication), and (3) SPCH 3421 (Organizational Communication. The number of papers used in this assessment varied because of the availability. Also, the number of criteria could vary because of the nature of each assignment; the list of the criteria is below:

(1)         Ability to cite sources

(2)         Ability to paraphrase the messages from the sources

(3)         Ability to classify, clarify, and assess any relevant concepts, perspectives and/or theories

(4)         Ability to identify, classify, and clarify research methods used in sources

(5)         Ability to criticize and justify the values and appropriateness of the sources

(6)         Ability to assess their own work (the implications of their works/studies)

 

Results

The results were given according to the types of criteria. The details of the student average (scale of 5) are given below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Citing Sources

Paraphrasing

Concepts/ Theories

Methods

Source Evaluation

Own Work Evaluation

SPCH 3401

(5 papers)

4.6

4.3

4.8

N/A

4.3

N/A

SPCH 3411

(3 papers)

4.0

4.0

4.2

N/A

4

4

SPCH 3421

(4 papers)

4.75

4.75

4.75

N/A

4.25

4.25

 

Recommendations

For program adjustments in this area, there are four recommendations:

(1)         A methodology unit should be added. (This is a response to “Methods.”)

(2)         A college writing for “research paper” class is required to all majors. (This is a response to “Citing Sources,” “Paraphrasing,” and “Own Work Evaluation.”)

(3)         Regarding SPCH 3411, the students should have more sources to look at for additional concepts and theories. (This is a response to “concepts,” and it has been implemented in Spring 2003.) Also, this class should be divided into two courses at two levels: “Intercultural Communication: Principles and Practices” and “Intercultural Communication: Theory and Research” because of the vast subject matters to be discussed.

 

Remarks: Most students took SPCH 3421 after they had taken SPCH 3401 and/or SPCH 3411 with the same instructor. SPCH 3401 concentrates on “a review of previous works.”

 

 

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