For college professors globally, to dialogue about course design.


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"Ross, Stewart" <[log in to unmask]>
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Ross, Stewart
Wed, 9 Jun 2010 17:14:56 +0000
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Good questions!  As one of the Fink & Associates presenters I do hear this question often...of course many times it is not asked as a question but a threat...I am not going to do this since you can't measure caring or human dimension!

Having taught music before becoming a faculty developer I did switch my emphasis of a large introductory music course goals from mainly foundational knowledge and application to caring and human dimension.  It became clear to me after just one semester of teaching the course back in the 1970s that foundational knowledge would not last long with students and led to some very bad moments such as a student telling me at the end of the semester that he now understood WHY he hated classical music.  These moments were real wake up calls...trying to turn out mini-music majors made no sense and having them memorize fact and dates and then testing them on recall was not only meaningless but led them to hate what they already thought they did not like.  I need to find ways to put them in future situations where they might be using these going to a classical music concert, or jazz performance or visiting another country and hearing music much different than what they were used to hearing.

Caring became a major goal for me in teaching that class ( foundational knowledge was still a part of the course) and it changed everything about the way I approached teaching.  By focusing energy into the Caring part of the taxonomy it forced me to rethink the big picture of why we were doing this in the first place.  It was at this time that I purchased a copy of "Star Wars" (the original movie) and showed the opening to the class with volume up high.  The students loved the music and could not believe their luck in having this as something to listen to in class.  Of course it led to a discussion about what the definition of classical music was which turned out to be life changing for me as a teacher.  They agreed this was classical music and that they liked it.  I think you know what happened next in terms of my change in teaching strategies.  Playing other classical music that sounded a lot like Star Wars was just the beginning!

Furthermore, some of these affective domain can be measured...just not for a grade perhaps.  What about a pretest-posttest where students are asked attitudinal questions on a scale of say 1-5.  These attitudes can then be compared to the answers to the same questions at the end of the course.

I think the confusion for some faculty is the need to see everything as something that is graded and evaluated.  The Fink taxonomy is a great way to dream a bit and start to see goals in a new light.  If we want to develop "whole students" we need to be more holistic in the goals we set forth for courses.  I won't go into how assessments changed in my introduction to music course once I changed the goals but that is an interesting story for some other time.

Stewart Ross, Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

Stewart Ross, Ph.D
Director of Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
Minnesota State Mankato
Morris Hall 267
Mankato MN 56003
507-389-1098 office
507-304-1624 cell
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-----Original Message-----
From: For college professors globally, to dialogue about course design. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Denise Domizi
Sent: Wednesday, June 09, 2010 11:48 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Assessing goals from left side of taxonomy

Hi folks,
I work at the Center for Teaching and Learning at UGA and we have gone through the course design process with many faculty members now (in-house we affectionally call it, "Finking your course") through workshops and even a week-long Maymester Institute. In the fall I'll be teaching the process to a group of graduate students through a semester-long course.

The question we constantly hear from faculty is, how do we assess for things on the left side of Fink's taxonomy? And what if they don't achieve those goals? ("Do we flunk them if they don't develop caring goals?"). While I am very comfortable with the taxonomy, many faculty we talk to are very unsure of having goals that can not be (in their words) "measured." My impression is that I'm not answering their concerns to their satisfaction because I feel like I still see a hint of doubt in some of their eyes. I'm wondering how others deal with this question. 


Denise Pinette Domizi, Ph.D.
Associate Coordinator of Faculty and TA Development
Center for Teaching and Learning, North Instructional Plaza
University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602 - (706) 542-6572