Assessing Learning in Ethnobotany

SC/SS 115 Ethnobotany proposes* to serve four program learning outcomes through three course level outcomes. The course serves learning outcomes in general education, the Micronesian studies program, and the Agriculture and Natural Resources program.

PLO SC/SS 115 CLO GE 3.4 Define and explain scientific concepts, principles, and theories of a field of science. 1. Identify local plants, their reproductive strategies, and morphology. GE 4.2 Demonstrate knowledge of the cultural issues of a person’s own culture and other cultures.

MSP 2 Demonstrate proficiency in the geographical, historical, and cultural literacy of the Micronesian region. 2. Communicate and describe the cultural use of local plants for healing, as food, as raw materials, and in traditional social contexts. ANR 2 Demonstrate basic competencies in the management of land resources and food production. 3. Demonstrate basic field work competencies related to management of culturally useful plant resources and foods.

Insights into learning and course reactions in ethnobotany

In SC/SS 115 Ethnobotany an open answer survey sought to elicit insights into student student and reactions to the course. The students were to respond to a a prompt. One of the most common themes cited by the students was the learning value of outdoor learning. Walking among the plants and learning their names and uses was reported as being beneficial to learning the plants and their uses. At the core of ethnobotany are the plants people use and how those plants are used.

My learning of the content was most helped when…
...I participated in the field learning names of the plants because it has been a great impact on my knowledge during my time in the field.
...we walked around the campus and see the trees that we are learning because I experienced and touched what I am learning.
...we went outdoors because I learned the things that needed to be learned when I see them.

The activity that contributed the most to my learning was…
...going to the coconut factory, seeing stuff and sampling …

Assessing Learning in Physical Science

SC 130 Physical Science proposes to serve two institutional learning outcomes (ILO) through four general education program learning outcomes (GE PLO) addressed by four course level student learning outcomes (CLO). Not listed are proposed specific student learning outcomes that in turn serve the course level learning outcomes.  This report assesses learning under the proposed course level learning outcomes which in turn supports program and institutional learning outcomes.

ILO 8. Quantitative Reasoning: ability to reason and solve quantitative problems from a wide array of authentic contexts and everyday life situations; comprehends and can create sophisticated arguments supported by quantitative evidence and can clearly communicate those arguments in a variety of formats.

GE PLO SC 130 CLO 3.5 Perform experiments that use scientific methods as part of the inquiry process. 1. Explore physical science systems through experimentally based laboratories using scientific methodologies 3…

Statistics text and course reactions

During the fall term of 2016 the MS 150 Statistics course shifted towards increasing use of Google Sheets. Developments in Sheets meant that Google Sheets had become far more capable than Microsoft Excel, especially when coupled with the Statistics add-on from Google. With the add-on Sheets now produced box plots, graphical confidence intervals for linear regressions, and automatic generation of histograms.

Over the winter break 2016-2017 the statistics text supporting the course was rewritten to support the use of Google Sheets and to be mobile friendly. The text was also designed to be usable in an off line environment. The text is a single web page that will remain available in a tab of a modern browser as long as the tab is kept open, whether or not the device is on line. Students can load the page at school and then take their device off campus while retaining the text on their device.

With the textbook on line and available, the hard copy text book was no longer required in the …

Improvement in graphical math skills via physical science and technology

Mɛ pɛ sɛ kwadu.
Wo bɛ ware mɛ?
Wo ho yɛ mɛ fɛ.

There are rules for where the mɛ lands in the above expressions and one could be taught where the mɛ should be placed based on the terms to either side of mɛ. With enough practice, one could pass a test on where to place the mɛ. Assessments could be done showing that one had indeed mastered the student learning outcome, "Students will be able to place the mɛ correctly in an expression." A student might logically ask why they are learning to place the mɛ in the expression. They might be told that they will need this knowledge should they proceed on to courses with more complex forms of expressions such as:

Woama metiri mu yɛ mɛ dɛ.

The reality is that few students in the class ever go on to more complex expressions, and none of this leads to actual understanding of the expressions nor how these expressions are actually used in the field in which the expressions are used.  The phrases would be meaningless, devoid of context, and a…

Assessing Learning in Introductory Statistics

MS 150 Statistics is an introductory statistics course with a focus on statistical operations and methods. The course is guided by the 2007 Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE), the spring 2016 draft GAISE update, and the ongoing effort at the college to incorporate authentic assessment in courses.

In the fall of 2012 the statistics curriculum was adjusted to include a couple of weeks of open data exploration exercises at the end of the term. These exercises were submitted as assignments and marked by the instructor. Spring 2015 the last open data exploration in a set of three was assigned as a presentation to the class. This changed the stakes from an assignment seen only by the instructor to a presentation seen by all of the students in the class. That shift would ramp up the level of effort students put into their open data exploration exercises. The arrival of improved presentation technology fall 2015 in the form of a brighter flat pane…