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Creating the Assignment—Outcomes and Deliverables

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Western Washington University’s Center for Instructional Innovation's description of assessment outcomes within the framework of “student-centered” or “learner-centered” teaching.


Focusing on Learning with Outcomes

The most productive place to start when you are thinking of how to design a collaborative research project for your students is with what you want them to learn. You can state your students’ learning goals clearly—for both them and for yourself—through learning outcomes.

How Do Learning Outcomes Work?

Learning outcomes focus on creating a climate in which the learner is actively engaged in the process of constructing knowledge.

Traditional research projects often rely on formula, and students sense that this writing is simply an exercise—their professors are not reading their research papers for innovative ideas and applications, but rather to judge the students’ responses against an ideal paper to which only the instructor has access (in her or his mind). For many students, then, the task becomes writing “what my instructor wants to read.”

To shift the focus to student learning, use learning outcomes to show students what they will be able to do when they have successfully participated in a collaborative research project.

By providing authentic tasks that are measurable and applicable to other situations outside of the classroom context, you are providing your students with an opportunity for:

Written and Oral Deliverables Creating the Assessment Collaborative Deliberation Developing Learning Teams Learning Through Reflection Learning Outcomes Posing the Problem Generating Multiple Perspectives Making Informed Decisions Invitational Communication Climate