Speech Communication Discipline Report for the ASL Committee (Spring 2005)

 

            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 2005. (Throughout the major, students are asked to create personal portfolios, which are evaluated collectively during the senior year.)

 

I. Rhetorical Studies

            Usually, there are two faculty members teaching in this area: (1) Prof. Mary Elizabeth Bezanson and (2) Prof. Neil Leroux. However, because Prof. Leroux is on sabbatical leave for the year 2004-2005, Prof. Bezanson solely did this assessment. The details are below.

 

A. Learning Objective #1 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: 3.4 of 5.0.
(3)   Ability to recognize the describe links between rhetorical theory and historical context—student average: 2.8 of 5.0.

 

Citing

Paraphrasing

Analysis

SPCH 3101
(5 papers)

4.0

3.4

2.8

 

·      Recommendations

(1) Make more explicit the need to describe the link between the rhetorical theory and the historical context.

(2) Alter text once again to encourage student thinking about the relationship between theory and history.
(3) Continue to review the use and misuse of quotation and paraphrase within a paper.

·      Remarks

(1) With only five papers to evaluate recommendations of any type are tentative. One student's failure to perform a task dramatically alters the results.

 

B. Learning Objective #2 Assessment

Prof. Mary Elizabeth Bezanson did the assessment based on Learning Objective #2 ("The students will use a variety of assigned theoretical approaches appropriate toŠrhetoricŠto describe and evaluate assigned or chosen discourse.").

·      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

Insufficient papers were submitted to conduct an assessment in this area.

 

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 toŠelectronic 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 2005," including papers written in 2002, 2003, and 2004.  Scholarly journal article critique papers from SPCH 3301 Media Theory were collected for this review.

 

Nine papers were analyzed in 2005. 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 2.8 to 5. The "class average" for all averaged scores-calculated to find a "typical" paper"--was 4.53. Specific criteria averages were also studied, to identify areas of strengths and areas needing improvement. Averages for the "class of '05" are summarized below

 

 

Citing

Writing

Method

Theory ID

Evaluation

SPCH 3301

4.2

4.2

4.9

4.6

4.8

 

·      Evaluation and Recommendations

Last year we considered three changes:

(1)  We adopted a newer version of the style manual and spent more time on basic writing instruction.  The result was a change from 4.0 to 4.2.  More work needs to be done in this area.

(2)  Method identification and descriptions have significantly improved since last year—from 3.9 to 4.9.  Unit changes and enhancements have achieved the desired goal.

(3)  Student evaluation of scholarly arguments increased slightly in score, from 4.5 to 4.8 This area may be further 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 ofŠcommunicationsŠ.

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 toŠcommunicationsŠto 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 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 2005." Also, the number of criteria in this 2005 study has been the same 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/ Theory

Method

Analysis/

Assessment

Class 2005 Average

SPCH 3401

(5 papers)

4.0

4.6

4.0

4.6

4.0

4.28

SPCH 3411

(6 papers)

4.67

4.67

4.33

3.83

3.83

4.27

SPCH 3421

(2 papers)

5

5

4

4.5

4

4.50

                                                                        Overall= 4.35

·      Recommendations

For program adjustments in this area, there still are three 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)  Because the basic knowledge in research methods was introduced in fall 2003, the assessment on this was administered in all three courses. Students in SPCH 3401 and SPCH 3411 were introduced to research methodology. In general, the students' performance has been improved this year (2005—4.35 Vs. 2004—3.82).

(2)  For SPCH 3401, five papers from fall 2003 and 2004 were assessed. This course generally is the first upper-level communication studies core course most majors take; therefore, they struggle hard for adjustment. When compared with last year (2004), students in this year (2005) class showed better performance.

(3)  For SPCH 3411, six papers from fall 2003 and 2004 were assessed when the basic knowledge in research methods was introduced and more sources (for concepts/theories) were provided. However, in this year (2005), the performance has very slightly dropped because the students did not know how to apply the new knowledge in research methods to their works.

(4)  For SPCH 3421, only two papers from spring 2004 were assessed. They may not represent the actual course performance of the class of 2005. This year (2005) reflected better performance than last year (2004). 

 

###

 


To Assessment Results Page