Making Sense of the Evidence of Student Learning: Getting to Researchable Questions

January 17, 2009

This resource kit provides a set of flexible tools and resources that may be adapted for local use in faculty discussions about the scholarship of teaching and learning. This set of resources addresses the process of formulating researchable scholarship of teaching questions about student learning through a close examination of a single teaching moment. It is based on a three-hour session conducted by Sherry Linkon at the 2001 VKP Summer Institute.

It begins with an examination of learning in a particularly key session in Sherry’s course on the history of Youngstown, Ohio.

After looking at the learning goals and activities of this single session, the resource kit asks faculty–through a series of prompts and exercises–to slow down and ask how one might get from questions about teaching to questions about the scholarship of teaching and learning.  Steps of this resource kit:

  • Step One: Analyze the course context (below)

  • Step Two: Think about your teaching and learning goals for a particular teaching session or classroom activity.

  • Step Three: Gather initial observations about student learning

  • Step Four: Develop questions about student learning

  • Step Five: Analyze evidence of student learning

Step One: Analyze the course context

Course title: Approaches to American Studies/Selected Topics in American Literature: Work in Youngstown

Course context:

  • Serves majors and minors in American Studies, English Education and Professional Writing & Editing
  • Focus on methods and strategies for interdisciplinary study of culture

Learning Goals:

  • Understand how work shapes identity, place and social relations
  • Understand the relationship between Youngstown’s past and its present
  • Analyze texts as both evidence and elements of cultural conflict and negotiation
  • Integrate multiple kinds of resources to develop complex analyses

Challenges of the course:

  • How to make good use of student’s prior knowledge
  • How to encourage student to focus on learning rather than performing
  • How to help students develop effective interdisciplinary practice

Sherry Linkon, reflecting on her own exercise.
You must have the Apple Quicktime plug-in to view the video)

Step Two

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