When getting started in developing a curricular approach to student learning outside the classroom, there are a number of different terms and concepts that are used with which one should become familiar. Many of the terms used have been systematized over time, particularly by the faculty of ACPA’s Institute on the Curricular Approach. However, some of the terms may be used differently in practice at various institutions. Regardless of whether you call something a learning goal, a learning outcome, or a learning objective, what is more important than the actual word is that… Read More
Before embarking on a curricular approach, it is important to conduct an audit, or archeological dig, to surface important characteristics and concepts that should be present and accounted for in your curriculum. As Siri Espy states, “Much like an archeological dig, your mission is to start with a set of bones and construct a skin that will fit. Ask yourself what an animal with all of your identified characteristics would look like, then set out to build one” (p. 86). During the audit and discovery phase of your dig, you should seek… Read More
In developing a residential curriculum, one of the first tasks a residence life department undertakes is the establishment of an educational priority. An educational priority is summative statement of what students will learn by their participation in a curriculum. An educational priority is broad, informed by research and theory, and contextualized to an individual campus and student population. A priority can be used as a measure to determine if a curriculum is successful in achieving its educational aims, and it provides a goal towards which students can reach.
One of the first steps in implementing a curricular approach in the residence halls is to articulate an educational priority. Educational priorities are written statements, typically 1-3 sentences, that describe the overall mission or objective of a curriculum. These priorities should be grounded in research and scholarship as well as the institutional context of the department or division implementing the curriculum. Below you will find examples of different educational priority statements from a number of institutions. These were collected through a public web search and compiled here for easy reference. Because of… Read More
Residential Curriculum Element #2: Learning Goals and Outcomes Developed and Based in a Defined Educational Priority
One of the important first steps in developing a curriculum is setting and defining an overall educational priority. An educational priority is the basis upon which all other goals and outcomes are derived. Based in the mission, context, and values of your institution, a priority should provide a broad statement about what learning will be occurring within your division or department. In many ways, this serves as a sort of “mission statement” for the curriculum–a short, bite-sized statement (or very brief paragraph) about what the curriculum is about and what students will learn.