Center for Instructional
Innovation and Assessment


Mark Bussell
Dawn Dietrich
Joyce Hammond
Mike Mana
Goals Contents
Dawn Dietrich
English Department

Institutional Goals

Listed below are selected learning outcomes in the area of critical thinking that Western Washington University is actively integrating into its curriculum. Each learning outcome is listed with its definition, along with a description of how Dawn Dietrich's teaching strategies meet each of these student learning outcome goals.


Critical Thinking

Learning Outcomes Definition Course Outcomes
Identification Accurately identifies and interprets evidence. The assignments for English 364 help students gain experience in identifying and describing both film technique and the understanding of theoretical approaches. By approaching cinema studies within this context, students both learn and apply the critical and conceptual frameworks of the discipline. Assignments, such as the screening reports, the film review, and the student led presentation, develop student understanding through ongoing practice negotiating the discourse of film studies resulting in the more informed understandings of film as a cultural product.

The various assignments teach students about the different ways to write and think about film in different writing genres and through different critical lenses. The film review requires that a student approach the task with different rhetorical strategies than those called for in the longer analytical piece.>
Alternative Consideration Considers major alternative points of view. The work in the writing projects and guided discussion calls for students to critically examine, thoughtfully consider, and effectively synthesize varied theoretical concepts or technical debates. Theoretical readings in the course situate the concepts of a theorist within a rich community of thinkers and writers. Through this approach students are introduced to the conversations in the field, examine counter arguments, and make connections between different approaches to film.

Students in their own work continue the conversation in the field by thinking critically and creating new positions that account for alternative points of view.

Our team teaching allows for multiple and differing viewpoints to be presented each class. Similarly, in presenting critical writings on each film discussed, we often present opposing readings of a film and allow students to draw upon their knowledge of the discipline to examine these viewpoints.
Accurate Conclusions Draws warranted, judicious, non-fallacious conclusions. Guided discussion allows students to form and revise ideas within the classroom. Classroom discussion, in its allowing for students to offer ideas and receive feedback, creates a structure where students can, in a low risk environment, present initial ideas, reconsider, re-articulate, and further develop upon those ideas. This work in discussion builds support for the student work that requires both the understanding of technical aspects of the medium and an application of analytical skills of the field.

In understanding these concepts, students can apply this knowledge to draw conclusions about the ways that a theoretical model can be used to read a film, the ways a film can illustrate the limits of a school of thought, or hypothesize about the use of technique by a filmmaker. Student work in the course requires that students thoughtfully construct developed analyses of films that draw upon supporting evidence.
Justification Justifies key results and procedures, and explains assumptions and reasons. In both the weekly screening reports and the larger projects in English 364 students justify the thinking supporting interpretations with specific evidence. In continuing the academic conversation on critical issues, students become actively engaged in the production of knowledge about film. This engagement involves the responsibility to accurately explain the process of thought leading to a reading of a film. In this way students create, through a critical examination of their own assumptions and reasons for approaching a text, a complex and well-supported analysis of film texts.

Adapted from Western Washington University's Learning Outcomes for Writing II.