Center for Instructional
Innovation and Assessment


Goals Contents
Innovative Teaching Showcase: Sheila Webb - Goals
Department of Journalism

Empowering Teamwork and
Creative Role-playing

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

Critical Thinking

Learning Outcomes Definition Course Outcomes
Identification Accurately identifies and interprets evidence. One of the primary goals of the class is to address the theme of crafting content for a specific audience. This class departs from the other classes in the Visual Journalism sequence in that students are working with a community partner, or in what they call the �real world.� It requires students work in teams, engage fully with the material, and take responsibility for the outcome. The class teaches and requires the ability to assess need and to identify which written, photographic, design, and/or Web productions will meet that need. This involves a partner questionnaire, creation of a calendar, interviews with the partner and constituents, assessment of existing materials, defining the partner�s goals and mission, and proposing specific ways to meet those goals. This also involves assessing which software is required, as well as applying theoretical approaches discussed in class, such as uses and gratifications theory, to the community partner project.
Alternative Consideration Considers major alternative points of view. This class applies the critical thinking exercises covered in the previous classes to a specific quarter-long project. We examine modes of communication specifically for the Web, but also draw on lessons in visual communication from the first two courses in the Visual Journalism sequence which covered typography, print, infographics, and video. The critique process provides the opportunity to present work-in-progress to the professor, the class, and the community partner. This triangulation provides an assessment of best practices, points the way toward effective adjustments, and offers the partner the chance for input.
Accurate Conclusions Draws warranted, judicious, non-fallacious conclusions. The critique process provides students the opportunity to clearly express how goals are being met in visual and written form. Critiques also encourage students to formulate critical discourse that explains the approach they took. Students present logos, brochures, flyers, rack cards, videos, photo galleries, websites, and/ or advice on setting up social media connections, all within the context of audience need, audience characteristics, and partner education. Reflections, a required component of service-learning, foster student understanding of the interaction between the curriculum and the community learning. Reflections are required 4 times during the quarter and follow a rubric that asks the student to move from description, to affective expression, to analysis, to application. In addition to helping the students codify their learning, the reflections also provide an invaluable insight for the professor as to how students are meeting challenges and how they are processing their work, both as individuals and as team members.
Justification Justifies key results and procedures, and explains assumptions and reasons. Throughout the course, students are encouraged to consider what they are doing as a form of visual communication. This class differs somewhat from their previous classes, as the projects tend to be more promotional than strictly journalistic, which requires adjustment on the students� part. The final critique provides the opportunity to showcase the quarter�s work, highlighting challenges, accomplishments, and strategies, both visually and in written form. A handoff letter to the community partner summarizes the above; the partner also receives all the deliverables, and, if necessary, a tutorial on how to maintain each deliverable.

Source: Adapted from the California Academic Press's Holistic Critical Thinking Scoring Rubric (HCTSR).