Speech Communication Discipline Report for the ASL Committee (Spring 2004)

 

               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 2004. (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 5 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.
 

Results

The results were given according to the types of criteria. The details are given below:
(1)   Ability to cite source—student average: 4.0 of 5.0.
(2)   Ability to paraphrase the messages from the sources—student average: 3.8 of 5.0.
(3)   Ability to recognize the describe links between rhetorical theory and historical context—student average: 2.4 of 5.0.

 

 

 

Citing

Paraphrasing

Analysis

SPCH 3101
(5 papers)

4.0

3.8

2.4

 

Recommendations
(1) Works on paraphrasing should be continuing.
(2) Due to student unhappiness with the new text chosen, the book will again be altered.  I am hoping a more readable text will allow students greater access to the ideas and a better link to the historical context of those ideas.

Remarks:
(1) With only five papers  to evaluate, as opposed to the eleven last year, recommendations of any type are tentative. One student's failure to perform a task dramatically alters the results.

 

(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

Four papers from SPCH 3203 (Variable Topics in Public Address: African American and Female Discourse) and one paper from SPCH 3101 (History of Rhetoric from the Classical to Modern Periods) were 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 4.2 of 5.0.

(2)   Ability to paraphrase the message from the sources—students averaged 4.4 of 5.0

(3)   Ability to analyze the discourse—students averaged 4.4 of 5.0.

 

 

Citing

Paraphrasing

Analyzing

SPCH 3203 (Four papers)

&

SPCH 3101 (One paper)

 

 

4.2

 

 

4.4

 

 

4.4

 

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 will be handled, but the instructor will not "fix" the problems. Rather, students themselves are required to figure out how to fix them with assistance from the instructor.

 

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 2004," including papers written in 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004. Scholarly journal article critique papers from SPCH 3301 Media Theory were collected for this review.

 

Thirteen 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 2.2 to 5. The "class average" for all averaged scores-calculated to find a "typical" paper"--was 4.42. Specific criteria averages were also studied, to identify areas of strengths and areas needing improvement. Citing average: 4.4 Writing average: 4.0 Method average: 3.9 Theory ID average: 4.5 Evaluation average: 4.5

 

 

Citing

Writing

Method

Theory ID

Evaluation

SPCH 3301

4.4

4.0

3.9

4.5

4.5

 

Recommendations

For program adjustments, three changes are being considered:

(1)   We have adopted a newer version of the style manual and should probably spend more time on basic writing instructions.

(2)   Method identification and descriptions have improved since last year, but an even stronger methods survey unit may be included for next year.

(3)   Student evaluation of scholarly arguments may be enhanced by an addition of a greater opportunity for students to propose and design research projects within the media theory course.

 

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 in 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004 were reviewed: (1) SPCH 3401 (Human Communication Theory—major core course), SPCH 3411 (Intercultural Communication), and (3) SPCH 3421 (Organizational Communication). The number of papers used in this assessment varied because of the availability. Data described in this study reflects the work of the "class of 2004." Also, the number of criteria in this 2004 study has been revised to fit all three courses' assignment characteristics; 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/criticize any relevant concepts, perspectives and/or theories

(4)   Ability to (a) identify and summarize research methods used in sources and/or
                      (b) select and apply research methods used in their own work

(5)   Ability to (a) describe/evaluate a specific act, discourse or artifact and/or
       (b) assess their own work (e.g., the implications of their works/studies)

 

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

Results

 

Citing Sources

Paraphrasing

Concept/ Theorie

Method

Analysis/

Assessment

Class 2004 Average

SPCH 3401

(6 papers)

3.83

3.67

4.0

N/A

3.5

3.75

SPCH 3411

(5 papers)

4.2

4.6

4.8

N/A

4.2

4.45

SPCH 3421

(2 papers)

3.0

3.5

3.5

N/A

3.0

3.25

 

Recommendations

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

(1)   A college writing for "research paper" class is required to all majors. (This is a response to "Citing Sources" and "Paraphrasing.")

(2)   For SPCH 3401 (as the first upper-level communication studies and core course taken by most new majors), the alert system must be monitored, while the criteria for accepting the new majors should be considered (e.g., a "B" in SPCH 2101 and a G.P.A of 2.5 in their first college year or 30 credit hours).

(3)   Be sure that the majors keep their works and submit them when this assessment is administered.

 

Remarks:

(1)   The basic knowledge in research methodology was introduced in fall 2003.

(2)   For SPCH 3401, six papers from fall 2001, 2002, and 2003 were assessed. One paper was rated "very poor/fail"; another was rated "fair/poor." This course is the first upper-level communication studies core course most majors take; therefore, they struggle hard for adjustment.

(3)   For SPCH 3411, three papers from fall 2003 were assessed when the basic knowledge in research methods was introduced and more sources (for concepts/theories) were provided. Therefore, the performance has improved.

(4)   For SPCH 3421, only two papers from spring 2002 and 2003 each were assessed. They may not represent the actual course performance of the class of 2004. Last year (the class of 2003) four papers from spring 2002 and 2003 reflected much better performance than this year.

(5)   The instructor also looks forward to seeing future groups' performance.

 

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