Abram Anders and Amy Walton have received a Miller Faculty Fellowship Award for their initiative working with the ISUComm Foundation Courses (ENGL 150/250).
They asked two questions: “What if we could assess students’ foundational communication skills across the sequence of ISUComm Foundation Courses and understand the impact of these courses on students’ academic performance and capacities for professional success? Even better, what if we could assess and validate new experimental approaches to instructional design and delivery as well as instructor training?”
The ISUComm Foundation Courses program offers a sequence of 2 required courses (ENGL 150/250) that enroll around 6,000 students each academic year. These courses are designed to support the development of multimodal communication skills (written, oral, visual, electronic). The goals of this project are twofold:
- Design and implement longitudinal assessment study using a mixed-methods approach addressing both communication and writing skills and broader impacts on student learning capacities and academic success
- Design and test innovative instructional approaches through directly comparing assessment data for standard and experimental sections of both courses (ENGL 150/250)
In addition to supporting better assessment of student learning and instructional effectiveness, this initiative will enable our program to research and assess innovations and new curricular designs. The goal is also to use this assessment program as a way of testing innovation and research-based approaches to all aspects of the program including these:
- Design of ENGL 150 curriculum to promote learning mindsets and self-directed learning skills
- Design of ENGL 250 curriculum to promote critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills
- Training of new graduate teaching assistants to promote teaching self-efficacy and self-directed professional development skills
The information gained in this study will benefit all future ISU undergraduate students because it will test new models of instruction that could strengthen students’ academic preparation and career readiness. Furthermore, the project would contribute to academic innovation more broadly.