Arts Course Characteristics Census

Starting in 2015, the Faculty of Arts has been collecting information on students’ learning experiences – what they are asked to do and produce – in every course. This project goes by the name of the [Department Name] Course Characteristics Census.  The reason for the department name is that the data will be of greatest value for students in undergraduate programs and for the departments and units that design the curriculum of those programs.

  1. When aggregated for students at the end of their 40 courses, it will provide a rich accounting of the many and various forms of learning that they have achieved in the program. We are building a web application for students to carry an electronic identity/portfolio/record throughout their degree, and this information, automatically pulled into it, is the keystone of that application. At the end of their program, students will have a rich transcript, documenting their learning experiences, which they can carry with them as they apply for further academic programs or employment.
    Here is a first taste of what this rich transcript will provide: Sample Student Rich Transcript 3 students
  2. When aggregated and broken down by year and subfield in departments it will provide a rich source of information for curriculum review, for department reviews, and for communication efforts to potential majors. Combined with student enrolment data, departments will also be able to use it to learn about different “sub-types” of students in their programs.
  3. Instructors can, _if they wish and only if they wish_, use the information as part of a teaching portfolio for purposes of review, merit, tenure, and promotion.
  4. The information can inform department and FoA decisions about the provision of technology and support for teaching.

Thus: This “Census” must be truly CENSUS. It is required of all instructors because it is only of value for points 2 and 3 above when it is comprehensive.