What should a student who has completed the general education program be able to do in the way of writing, critical thinking, speaking, using information technology, quantitative analyzing, and researching?
Below are general goal statements and lists of behavioral objectives for each skill the general education program addresses. The general education council, working with selected faculty, and then receiving wide input from faculty, formulated these objectives. The council believes that these intellectual and practical skills are integral to the mission and goals of the general education program. The council welcomes your input on the formulation of these objectives.
NOTE WELL: As of September 2001, the Council voted to eliminate the skill of information technology and to include a reference to “computer literacy” in the set of skills now labeled information and computer literacy. This set of skills integrates three basic skills, research, information technology and critical thinking.
The general education program has six skills areas with the following purposes and student objectives/outcomes:
1) Written Communication
The overall objective is to develop students’ written expression of thought and provide learners opportunities to explore ideas and to build connections between content areas. Written communication objectives for students completing the general education program are:
1. Demonstrate the capacity to use various writing forms, (for example, in-class responses, journals, notebooks, reports, argumentative essays, research papers, and others) to achieve the specific purposes of the course.
2. Exemplify ethical writing practices (i.e., avoid plagiarism, use of an appropriate citation style) in all forms of written communication.
3. Demonstrate the capacity to effectively integrate multiple sources (primary and secondary, electronic and print) into the writing assignments of the course.
4. Demonstrate improvements in written expression of thought by utilizing various techniques (such as peer review, multiple drafts or revisions of assignments after receiving feedback).
2) Oral Communication
The overall objective is to develop students’ oral communication skills by a variety of communication activities, from informal discussion to formal presentation. Oral communication objectives for students completing the general education program are:
1. Clearly state questions, concerns, and ideas so that both the instructor and other students can understand the intent.
2. Verbally condense larger amounts of information into concise, condensed analysis.
3. Discuss among various size groups of students so as to be able to contribute without over powering others.
4. Give a clear, organized and accurate oral presentation of course material (for example, summaries of readings, research projects, analyses of arguments, persuasive speeches and others).
3) Critical Thinking
The overall objective is to develop students’ reasoning abilities by incorporating reasoning tasks and practices into general education courses. Critical thinking objectives for students completing the general education program are:
1. Identify and state arguments.
2. Identify the main point in a passage or essay and state the reasons that support a given choice.
3. Identify assumptions and state the implications of an argument, passage, or theory.
4. Critically evaluate arguments in terms of the strength of evidence and reasoning.
5. Write an essay that comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, supported by relevant evidence, and tested against relevant criteria and standards.
4) Quantitative Analysis
The overall objective of quantitative analysis is to provide students with an approach to problem solving through logic and reasoning. It is used to identify, analyze, generalize and communicate quantitative relationships. Quantitative analysis objectives for students completing the general education program are:
1. Translate problems into mathematical form.
2. Construct and interpret visual representations of mathematical relationships.
3. Determine quantitative relationships and solutions to problems.
4. Clearly communicate quantitative relationships and solutions.
5. Apply mathematical concepts to real world situations.
6. Draw inferences from data that could be incomplete under conditions that are uncertain.
The overall objective is to ensure that students are able to formulate a researchable question and can identify and utilize resources in order to document findings and draw conclusions. Research objectives for students completing the general education program are:
1. Identify types of resources necessary to formulate a researchable question.
2. Utilize credible resources as a tool for academic research.
3. Draw conclusions based on the results of the research.
4. Document research findings, using accepted forms of scholarly citation.
5. Communicate the outcome of the research findings.
6) Information and Computer Literacy
The overall objective is to ensure that students acquire a basic core of skills that are needed to research information with the use of information technology and critically evaluate that information. Information and computer literacy objectives for students completing the general education program are:
1. Determine the extent of information needed.
2. Utilize computers to create documents, and to retrieve and communicate needed information effectively and efficiently.
3. Evaluate information and its sources critically.
4. Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base.
5. Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.
6. Understand many of the ethical, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information sources.