2021 Conference on General Education, Pedagogy, and Assessment: Preconference Workshops

Separate registration and fee required ($95 members; $155 non-members); registration is limited, so register early.

Monday, February 8, 2021; 11:00 am - 2:00 pm ET
Workshop 1: VALUE Rubrics 101: If, When, Why and How to Hack Them to Improve Student Learning
Rubrics are heralded as the answer to any number of assessment and accountability questions facing faculty and administrators today. This interactive session will empower participants to fully utilize rubrics on their campuses. The VALUE rubrics were developed to provide a collaborative, faculty-devised approach to assessing the quality of student learning for outcomes educators and employers said were essential for student success. The rubrics provide information that faculty and students can use to improve student learning and teaching effectiveness. Participants will gain exposure to rubric best practices and resources using the AAC&U VALUE rubrics; develop rubrics and/or rubric-related tools (such as a draft of a rubric customized for grading, course-based, and program assessment; a plan for engaging faculty in rubric calibration; or the development of a rubric “from scratch”); and return to their campuses primed to implement rubric strategies appropriate to their institutional context.
Kate McConnell, Assistant Vice President for Research and Assessment and Director of VALUE Institute—AAC&U

Monday, February 8, 2021; 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm ET
Workshop 2: Academic Integrity as an Outcome of Authentic Learning
In this workshop, we begin from the premise that academic integrity is not just the absence of cheating. Rather, academic integrity represents our affirmative efforts to teach fundamental values and create authentic learning experiences for our students both in person and remotely. In this workshop, we will review some structural and psychological reasons that students cheat, focusing on those that instructors can influence. Academic misconduct occurs most in situations that are not conducive to learning such as when students feel that they can’t do the work, that the stakes are too high to fail, or that there is no value in a particular class or assignment. We’ll then work in teams to review and revise assignments and syllabus structures to create changes (both small and large) that can positively influence students away from academic misconduct and toward authentic learning and lasting development of skills and values. Please come prepared with a course syllabus and a project/paper assignment to work on revising.
Douglas Harrison, Vice President and Dean of the School of Cybersecurity and Information Technology—University of Maryland Global Campus; and David Rettinger,Professor of Psychological Science and Director of Academic Integrity Programs—University of Mary Washington

Tuesday, February 9, 2021, 11:00 am - 2:00 pm ET
Workshop 3: Making Critical Thinking Assignments Better for Learning and Assessment
A key research finding from AAC&U’s VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education) project is that what faculty ask students to do in assignments strongly affects how well they do it (Sullivan & McConnell, 2018). Indeed, assignments are not only key as an assessment of learning, but they are also integral as an act of pedagogy, a teaching strategy that can be both improved and mastered. With both learning and assessment in mind, this workshop is designed to help participants create better critical thinking assignments. This workshop will begin by exploring the latest employer research as it relates to learning outcomes for undergraduate students and then quickly focus specifically on critical thinking. It will then examine the elements of AAC&U’s Critical Thinking VALUE rubric as a preamble to working with a new tool from AAC&U called the “VALUE ADD (Assignment Design and Development) Tool for Critical Thinking”. This tool is intended to help faculty develop and/or revise an assignment designed to produce student work which develops and accurately demonstrates students’ critical thinking abilities. Participants in this workshop are encouraged to bring previous versions or drafts of assignments or an idea for a critical thinking assignment they are considering for the future. In addition to having time and support to revise these course materials, attendees will have the opportunity to review their colleagues’ drafts of assignments, to collect feedback on their own assignments, and utilize the new VALUE ADD Tool, which provides clear guidance for excellence in critical thinking assignment development.
C. Edward Watson, Associate Vice President for Quality, Pedagogy, and States Initiatives and Chief Information Officer—AAC&U; and Tara Rose, Director of Assessment, Office of Institutional Effectiveness—Louisiana State University

Tuesday, February 9, 2021, 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm ET
Workshop 4: Instructional Agility: Effective Practices for Multi-Modal Teaching and Learning
As a result of the COVID pandemic, our students have experienced an unprecedented shift to hybrid learning—as have many faculty, adopting and adapting quickly to serve their students’ needs and course goals. The instructional agility required for success is difficult to achieve – but also presents new opportunities to enhance how faculty embrace equitable, evidence-based, and flexibly integrated teaching practices that meet students where they are, holistically, in their lives (i.e., literally in their homes).
This workshop provides participants with chances to discuss the challenges and opportunities of multi-modal teaching and learning. After a framing introduction, the workshop facilitators will guide participants through structured breakout sessions to share and explore effective practices and to brainstorm ideas to enrich the multi-modal learning environment. In the second section of the workshop, participants will consider equity-minded strategies for hybrid instruction in the general education classroom. Time will be provided to engage in course revision activities, and participants can expect to leave the workshop with strategies for effective and equitable multi-modal teaching that can be deployed in their general education courses.
Megan L. Mittelstadt, Director, Center for Teaching and Learning—University of Georgia; and Rod McRae, Director, Center for Teaching and Learning—University of West Georgia

Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 11:00 am - 2:00 pm ET
Workshop 5: Assessing the Unquantifiable: Strategies for the “Hard-to-Measure” Disciplines
Strategies and approaches to the direct assessment of student learning in higher education programs vary widely across disciplines. This workshop focuses on strategies for assessing student learning in the “hard to measure” disciplines, such as those in which students demonstrate learning nonverbally, creatively, and other specialized contexts. We will address the psychometric components of reliability, validity, fairness, and equity as they apply in these specialized contexts. and as well as data collection methods and approaches to analysis, evaluation, and accreditation reporting.
Timothy S. Brophy, Professor and Director of Institutional Assessment—University of Florida

Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm ET
Workshop 6: Leveraging General Education to Advance Inclusive Excellence
Recent attacks on our nation’s capital have shown us and the rest of the world just how divided we are as a nation. These events shocked us and freedom-loving citizens of democratic counties around the world. It is past time that we reckon with the disparities between our rhetoric of democracy and freedom, and our actions. We hear and we say that “education is the great equalizer” yet many of our graduates know firsthand the fallacies of this claim.

This workshop will position faculty and higher education institutions to better ensure that all students are equipped with the skills to support America’s pledge of “freedom and justice for all.” The general education (GE) curriculum is our best opportunity to lay an early foundation for such skills to be honed throughout students’ college experience. This session will focus on examining the parts of the GE curriculum that can reshape how we understand the challenges and strengths of our diversity. The first step is to assist faculty members in better understanding how they can be inclusive and equity-minded educators. Next, faculty must help students learn how to be inclusive and equitable in their interactions within the classroom so they leave us with cultural competence. But most importantly, campus leadership must support the professional development needed to broaden faculty understanding of these issues in depth enough to ensure all students learn the skills needed to maintain a diverse democracy. When done well, these practices and striving for cultural competence become core learning outcomes for every student regardless of their major. Participants should come prepared to examine their GE curriculum and work with the facilitator, and one another, to lay the foundation for future campus work.
Alma Clayton-Pedersen, Chief Executive Officer—Emeritus Consulting Group