Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Communicating Generic Skills

The evidence on teaching generic skills is paradoxical.  The survey undertaken by myself, Anne Daly, Monica Kennedy and Michael de Percy last year indicated that staff were teaching generic skills.  However, the CEQ was showing that students did not think they were being taught these items.  My conclusion from this confounding result is that while we are teaching generic skills, we are not communicating that we are teaching generic skills to students.

My position as the teacher of the capstone unit in the accounting major makes my role more significant - I am one of the last teachers students see before completing their CEQ.  The impression I make is likely to be greater than any other teacher's impression (I need to remember this point when I talk to Milind and Atique about resources).

I have changed significantly the way I communicate the teaching of generic skills to students this semester.  The changes I have made include:
  • Listing the generic skills I am developing and assessing in each assessment piece with the requirements of the assignment
  • Starting each lecture (slide 6) with the generic skills developed in that topic and I will explain how that is achieved in the lecture
  • Providing links on LearnOnline to the Library and ASP resources for improving generic skills
In undertaking this process I have constantly referred back to the University's policy on generic skills (which Mark Freeman called the longest list he has ever seen) and the USS (and CEQ) questions on generic skills.  I have discovered that the USS questions do not align with the University policy.  This is a problem that I will try to raise with Carole Kayrooz when I speak to her.

It will be difficult to assess whether this change has any impact as I do not have good baseline data from the USS and I do not know if my influence alone can increase the CEQ rankings for the Faculty.

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