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Transformative Conversion

Note: This document is intended as a general guide. Faculty are encouraged to adopt or adapt this checklist to fit the specific and pedagogical concerns of their discipline.

Program and Course Redesign Checklist

Semester Conversion provides California State University, Los Angeles with a single, extraordinary opportunity to effect transformational changes throughout CSULA’s academic calendar, curriculum, and pedagogy. Curriculum redesign lies at the core of the semester-conversion process.

This checklist provides faculty with a list of possible considerations and available resources to guide them in rethinking and redesigning the curriculum. This is NOT a list of requirements that must be submitted with a program modification, rather, it is a guide to help faculty address best practices when converting the curricula.

Embedded links throughout this checklist lead to additional information, whether the information is on the web or in the form of appendices at the end of this document.

The curricular changes that we effect during semester conversion have the potential to transform significantly for the better the educational experience of future generations of CSULA instructors and students. However, for that potential to become reality, we will need to incorporate those best practices of teaching and learning that have been demonstrated to improve access, transferability, learning, and success for our students.

Program Planning

Prior to the creation and conversion of individual courses, each program should design a plan for the range and quantity of courses to be offered within the semester framework.

__ Yes

__ No

Student learning outcomes for the programs have been identified.

__ Yes

__ No

Individual courses have been internally coordinated to contribute to overall program goals. 

__ Yes

__ No

Student learning outcomes for individual courses have been identified. 

__ Yes

__ No

The program’s courses have been mapped to the institutional and program student learning outcomes. 

Program Accreditation

For programs externally accredited, the program and courses have been updated, if needed, to meet state-of-the-art professional and disciplinary standards and accreditation requirements:

__ Yes

__ No

We have determined that this program meets the designated and appropriate semester standards.

__ Yes

__ No

In the case of a program that needs but fails to meet designated and appropriate standards, we have determined the means by which the curriculum will address these deficiencies and come to meet the necessary professional or disciplinary standards.

Programs Not Externally Accredited

For programs not externally accredited, the program and courses have been updated, if needed, to meet state-of-the-art professional and disciplinary standards:

__ Yes

__ No

We have determined that this program meets the designated and appropriate semester standards.

__ Yes

__ No

In the case of a program that needs, but fails to meet designated and appropriate standards, we have determined the means by which the curriculum will address these deficiencies.

 

Assessment and Program Improvement

The program and courses redesign has been informed by existing assessment data and by reflection upon the most recent program review:

__ Yes

__ No

The program has developed an assessment plan that addresses each of the program's learning outcomes.

__ Yes

__ No

The program has established feedback mechanisms for reviewing and updating the curriculum in light of assessment data.


Interdisciplinary Coordination and Collaboration

Because semester conversion requires simultaneous revision of the curriculum across all units, it provides a unique opportunity to create new or strengthened interdisciplinary collaborations and to create a foundation for integrative learning.

__ Yes

__ No

We have discussed course and program redesign with other programs that require our courses to assure that their needs are being considered, especially in the case of foundational courses and service courses.

__ Yes

__ No

We have provided opportunities by which our courses and programs might be broadened through interdisciplinary collaboration and perspectives.


Pedagogy Considerations

__ Yes

__ No

Specified student learning outcomes for all courses will be identified on course syllabi following university policy.

__ Yes

__ No

In the case of courses that will be taught by more than one faculty member, the appropriate conversations have taken place to arrive at commonly agreed upon student learning outcomes and a fundamental identity that is consistent across all of its class tertions.


Where appropriate, the following active-learning pedagogies have been integrated into one or more courses in the program:

__ Yes

__ No

Service learning and/or community-based learning

__ Yes

__ No

Undergraduate research, scholarly, and creative activities

__ Yes

__ No

Internships

__ Yes

__ No

Problem-based learning and/or inquiry-based learning

__ Yes

__ No

Collaborative projects based on small-group activities

__ Yes

__ No

Interdisciplinary projects involving other classes

__ Yes

__ No

Study-abroad opportunities

__ Yes

__ No

Use of the Learning Management System Moodle

__ Yes

__ No

Electronic portfolios

__ Yes

__ No

Case studies

__ Yes

__ No

Simulations

__ Yes

__ No

Other: ________________________________

 

Considerations for Undergraduate Semester-Based Major programs only

__ Yes

__ No

We have determined that our program will include all courses and experiences required by the semester-based General Education Program.

__ Yes

__ No

We have determined that our program intentionally contributes to student achievement of the Core Competencies as defined by WASC (written communication, oral communication, critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, and information literacy).

__ Yes

__ No

We have considered various opportunities for Minors and Certificates.

__ Yes

__ No

We have considered various forms of high impact practices (e.g., internship, study abroad, clinical placements, exhibits and performances, service learning, undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activities) that are appropriate for students majoring in our program.

__ Yes

__ No

We have developed plans for advising students in our program.

__ Yes

__ No

We have developed plans for articulating our courses with community colleges, the Transfer Model Curriculum (TMC) program, and other 4-year colleges and universities.

__ Yes

__ No

We have provided opportunities for broadening of student learning through interdisciplinary perspectives in this program.

__ Yes

__ No

We have provided opportunities for writing and for developing writing skills throughout the program.

__ Yes

__ No

We have discussed transition issues for students and faculty during the transition from quarters to semesters.


Appendices

Program Redesign within Semester Conversion
These guidelines are designed to aid academic programs in considering possibilities for transformative change - at the program level - during the conversion to semesters process.

Student learning outcomes (SLO's) for an academic program: the knowledge, skills, or attitudes that a program's students should be able to demonstrate upon program completion. Program outcomes represent broad statements that incorporate many areas of inter-related knowledge and skills developed over the duration of the program through its courses and experiences. They represent the big picture, describe broad aspects of behavior, encompass multiple learning experiences, and are representative of an end stage of performance.

SLO's for a course, refer to the knowledge, skills, or attitudes that a student should be able to demonstrate upon completion of a specific course.

In the case of SLO's for both programs and courses, here are two basic questions:

  1. What do you want students to learn and be able to do by the end of the program/course?
  2. What can you put in place that allows you to determine if students are doing that?


When writing these SLO's, define them from a student's and not an instructor's perspective. Also, outcomes should be measurable and described in behavioral and observable terms.
Within the overarching sense that curriculum redesign drives course redesign, the Center for Effective Teaching and Learning has developed some guidelines that may be helpful in clarifying these distinctions. Some questions that we might ask of individual courses:

  1. What level of mastery should we require of students for successful advancement beyond this course?
  2. What would a successful student be able to do differently as a result of completing this course?
  3. What would a successful student know and be able to do two years from now as a result of completing this course?


To get a sense of appropriate student learning outcomes for an academic program, we might ask these questions when developing learning outcomes for a program:

  1. What would a successful graduate of that program look like today?
  2. What would a successful graduate of that program look like in the future?
  3. What skills would that graduate need in order to excel in the 21st century?
  4. What kinds of people would that graduate collaborate or work with?

Answers to such questions, perhaps further developed in conversations with alumni and employers, might help a program to develop the necessary or desirable traits to help the graduate to become successful. Within this same discussion is the importance of students gaining experience collaborating across college and disciplinary lines so as to prepare the students for the environment that they will encounter in their careers. Consider the value of identifying the requirements that might be imposed by external accreditation agencies as a way to define student learning outcomes for a program.


The Fundamental Identity of a Course
It is expected that a course will be consistent in its targeted learning outcomes across all class tertions offered for that course each term, for as long as the course is offered. Keeping in mind instructor variances in delivery methods, content selection, and evaluation schemes, the fundamental identity of the course should be consistent across all of its class tertions. If it is your vision that a class tertion of this course will differ significantly in terms of learning outcomes or pedagogical imperatives, such that this class is invested with a unique identity, then it is not appropriate for this class to carry the same course number, title, and course description as the primary course. You must create a unique course, complete with a unique course number, title, and description.

Department Template for Assessing Students' Learning
Has the department:

  • Collaboratively articulated department-level learning outcome statements?
  • Mapped where and how students progressively learn these outcomes and identified points along the curriculum, as well as at the culmination of the program of study, when students build upon and demonstrate these collaboratively agreed upon outcomes?
  • Discussed the design of the curriculum as reflected in a departmental curricular map, focusing on (1) pedagogies or educational practices that chronologically foster desired learning outcomes and on (2) how faculty intentionally build upon each other's courses and educational experiences to continue to foster students' learning?
  • Oriented new and part-time faculty to these outcomes?
  • Integrated these outcomes into syllabi so that students continue to think about and reflect on their learning?

  • Created times along students' program of study to position them to assess their learning gains across their program of study, such as in focus groups or at the end of courses, and used these results for departmental discussions?
  • Collaboratively developed and distributed criteria and standards of judgment, scoring rubrics, to assess students' progress towards and achievement of your department-level outcomes and to position students to self- or peer-assess?

  • Identified times to convene department members to analyze, interpret, and use results of assessment to identify patterns of strength and weakness in student work that lead to discussion about and reflection on ways to improve student achievement through changes in pedagogy, curricular and instructional design, or other educational practices?
  • Identified times to implement collaboratively agreed upon changes to ascertain how well these changes improve student learning?

Office of Semester Conversion, 9/18/13