Academic Senate
Student Learning
Let's Talk About
Teaching and Learning
Board Policy
The Ed
Flex Day

October 18, 2007


I went to the candidate forum last Thursday night sponsored by the League of Women Voters and our ASMPC.

Excellent evening. All candidates represented. I am now well informed.

Please speak to me privately if you would like to hear my reactions.


SLO Update

Should I go to this vocational-oriented, free, SLO workshop?


SLO Progress Report 10-18-07

Student Leaning Outcomes (SLOs) for MPC




Definition for Course-Level SLOs

An SLO is a measurable or evaluable description of what a student is expected to be able to “do” at the end of a course. The word “do,” in this context, could mean, for example, “perform,” “paint,” “produce,” “analyze,” “demonstrate,” “discriminate,” “synthesize,” “use the scientific method,” or any number of verbs appropriate for a particular course. Development of SLOs for MPC courses is totally and completely the responsibility of MPC faculty members, as are the methods of evaluation of the SLOs, which may be quantitative or qualitative. Evaluation of SLOs may or may not be part of student evaluation methods currently in place for a given course. Development of SLOs for MPC courses is totally and completely the responsibility of MPC faculty members, as are the methods of evaluation of student attainment of the SLOs. Evaluation of student attainment of the SLOs may be quantitative and/or qualitative, and may be part of student evaluation methods currently in place for a given course.


From the latest SLO document from the ASCCC: It is up to faculty to create and assess outcomes (utilizing both quantitative and qualitative measures) and to analyze that evidence to improve student learning and teaching.


From training materials that WASC gives to accreditation site-visit teams: “As team evaluators look for evidence that the institution is evaluating student learning outcomes, they will want to think about the designed curriculum, the taught curriculum, and the learned curriculum, bearing in mind that grades are not the best evidence of student learning. The designed curriculum is what is in the college catalog and in official course outlines of record. The taught curriculum can be found in the course syllabi. The learned curriculum is what assessment is all about—what have the students learned?” SLOs describe the learned curriculum.


From a chemistry teacher quoted by Janet Fulk: “Outcomes demonstrate an understanding and application of a subject beyond the nuts and bolts which hold it together; objectives represent the nuts and bolts.” 


What is most important about all this?


The act of faculty talking to each other about teaching and learning is an identifying characteristic of a vibrant academic institution. Incorporation of SLOs into our culture is one way to do this. It also happens to be endorsed and required by WASC.


From Doug Garrison after attending a WASC training session for accreditation site visit team members: “The most important  part of determining student learning outcomes is the faculty dialog involved in examining the designed curriculum [college catalog and course outlines], the taught curriculum [course syllabi] and learned curriculum [direct and indirect assessment]. The focus should not be on compliance. It should be on faculty discussing curriculum and teaching. Since all disciplines are different, there is no one way to write an SLO.


Why are we being asked to do this?


We are required to do this by WASC.


WASC is the last accrediting agency to adopt SLOs.


SLOs are part of an accountability trend currently evident in all aspects of national and state politics. Our paychecks are issued by the state of California, a political entity.


Are SLOs different from objectives?




Student learning outcomes build upon, but are different from, course objectives because they represent an over-arching description of what a student can do at the end of a course.



Student Learning Outcomes

Objectives represent valuable skills, tools, or content (nuts and bolts) that enable a student to engage a particular subject.

SLOs represent overarching products of the course.

Objectives can be stated in terms of higher level thinking skills

SLOs can be stated in terms of higher level thinking skills

Objectives can often be numerous, specific, and detailed.

SLOs are broad statements of what can be accomplished once the objectives are mastered.


Objectives are written in the course outline of record and comprise the individual parts that make up the whole of the class. The objectives are the “nuts and bolts” that hold the product together. The SLOs are the big picture vision of what that product looks like. Objectives describe the skills, tools, or content that a student will master by the end of a course. SLOs describe over-arching goals of what a student will be able to do by the end of a course.



For MPC, we recommend one to three SLOs per course. If you write more than three, you’re probably writing objectives rather than SLOs.


Examples from my courses:


Geology: Use observations of rock types and landscape morphology to interpret basic geologic history and processes.


Oceanography: Recognize major seafloor features based on their shape and interpret their origin using plate tectonic theory.


Oceanography:  Analyze how the earth's oceans are a part of the earth's systems from geological, chemical, biological and physical perspectives. (I found this one while looking for internet examples)


Painting: Students will use appropriate tools and materials to create paintings that synthesize conceptual understanding of image and content, and contextualizes the role of individual expression in historical and contemporary art.




Examples found on the internet:


Biology: Apply concepts of chemistry to physiological systems.


History: Evaluate historical myths, clichés, and prejudices that permeate contemporary US culture.


Criminal Justice: Describe the principles of community-based policing and apply them to given situations.


Speech: Organize outline, and deliver well-researched speeches to inform and persuade that are tailored to a specific audience.


Photography: Manually operate a 35 mm camera to create original black and white photographs that apply principles of exposure and development to concepts of composition, design, aesthetics, and content.


Piano: Sit at the keyboard so that the body will rest on it frame in such a way to be able to use one’s hands, arms, and fingers to produce a beautiful tone with great speed and evenness.


Nutrition: Analyze a documented nutritional problem, determine a strategy to correct the problem, and write a draft nutritional policy addressing the broader scope of the problem.


Engineering: Functioning as a member of a team, the student will design and

present a concrete structure which complies with engineering standards.


Math: Given data students will analyze information and create a graph that is correctly titled and labeled, appropriately designed, and accurately emphasizes the most important data content.


Most important thing to remember


If we don’t write SLOs for our courses and programs, somebody else will. And that would be everybody’s worst nightmare.


MPC SLO Articulation Committee

Fred Hochstaedter

Robynn Smith

Jon Mikkelsen



Unlawful Discrimination, Including Sexual Harassment

The academic Senate is currently reviewing this policy.


A few questions:


In section XIII, you use the terms “claimant”, and then switch to “complainant”. These two terms have slightly different meanings. Did you mean to use the two different terms? Would only one of the terms serve your purposes?  It should be “complainant.”  We will change.


In the second and third paragraphs of section XIII, it talks about revealing the name of the complainant. Reveal to whom? I thought the whole process is confidential.  To the accused.  That section explains the dilemma pretty well.


Also, what about revealing the name of the accused? Are there any protections in writing for this person? What if the accusation turns out to be false? It could turn out to be very detrimental to this person’s career.  The 4th paragraph on page 2 indicates that applicable due process procedures will be followed – that is where the protections for the accused are.  All personnel matters are confidential.


Finally, on the “Unlawful discrimination Complaint Form”, I found it surprising that the question, “What would you like the District to do as a result of your complaint – what remedy are you seeking?” was asked. Isn’t there a policy about what should be done? Do accusers have the right to set their own punishment? What if the person writes down something like, “hang him up by his toenails from the flagpole for eight days.”?  That form is the one prescribed by the Chancellor’s Office –so it cannot be changed.  However, just because a complainant asks for something it does not mean it will happen.  But it does give the investigator a good idea of what a resolution might be.  For instance, if the complainant wants an apology – that could be fairly straightforward.  If, on the other hand, the complainant wants the person fired or expelled it may not happen.  And the complainant, in many instances, will not know what the discipline (if any) was – because personnel matters are confidential.