Unit: Communications
Program: Journalism (BA)
Degree: Bachelor's
Date: Thu Oct 15, 2009 - 9:15:09 am

1) List your program's student learning outcomes (SLOs).

Students can:

  • SLO #1: gather, analyze and organize information, and to communicate it clearly, effectively and responsibly using multiple media platforms;
  • SLO #2: demonstrate an understanding of the social, cultural and historical contexts of reporting on social institutions as well as on individuals and groups;
  • SLO #3: demonstrate an understanding of the importance of a free, vigorous and responsible press to the maintenance of an informed citizenry to exercise the rights of self-governance in a democracy;
  • SLO #4: contribute to lifelong learning through reports that enlighten and enliven audiences, whether in print, broadcast, online or other new media formats.

2) Where are your program's SLOs published?

Department Website URL: http://www.communications.hawaii.edu/journ/pages/academic.html
Student Handbook. URL, if available online:
Information Sheet, Flyer, or Brochure URL, if available online: NA
UHM Catalog. Page Number: See online: http://www.catalog.hawaii.edu/schoolscolleges/arts-sciences/departments/jour.htm
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online:

3) Upload your program's current curriculum map(s) as a PDF.

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2009:

4) What percentage of courses have the course SLOs explicitly stated on the course syllabus, department website, or other publicly available document? (Check one)


5) State the SLO(s) that was Assessed, Targeted, or Studied

We are all doing assessment in our classes, through the exercises and assignments. The rubrics that are developed in these classes measure the specified SLOs stated in the syllabi. And the SLOs and rubrics in the classes were developed to support the program SLOs. Visually, the process can be depicted as such:

Program SLOs --> Course SLOs --> Rubrics --> Grades

One example (of many) assessment activities in our curricula involves a specific course – Journalism 301: Tools & Platforms – that is required of all journalism majors. The assessment activity related to SLO #1: Students can gather, analyze and organize information, and to communicate it clearly, effectively and responsibly using multiple media platforms. It was given at the end of cohort's first year.

6) State the Assessment Question(s) and/or Goal(s) of Assessment Activity

Do J302 students feel they gained knowledge and skills about public affairs research and media production by the end of class that they did not have or had little of at the beginning of class?

7) State the Type(s) of Evidence Gathered

Students filled out a questionnaire that attempted to measure the degree to which they felt they acquired knowledge and skills relating to SLO #1 by the end of the semester compared to the beginning of the semester.

8) State How the Evidence was Interpreted, Evaluated, or Analyzed

The questionnaire was distributed to students at the end of J302, Spring 2009, which happened to coincide with the end of the student’s first academic year as journalism majors. Students anonymously filled out the questionnaires and were assured that questionnaires would not be viewed until after grades were submitted. Responses were tabulated, summarized and analyzed by instructor.

9) State How Many Pieces of Evidence Were Collected

All students in J302 who were present on the last day of class, Spring 2009, were given a questionnaire. 24 questionnaires were turned in.

10) Summarize the Actual Results

The overwhelming majority of students reported that they knew nothing or very little about certain specified skills taught in J302 at the beginning of the semester and that they felt they knew a “moderate amount” or “a lot” about those same skills by the end of the semester.

11) Briefly Describe the Distribution and Discussion of Results

Instructor of J302 initially, but plans to share the results/analysis/insights with colleagues in the near future.

12) Describe Conclusions and Discoveries

J302 students are being introduced to journalism technologies and skills that they do not know about or know very little about at the beginning of the course and report by the end of the semester that they feel they have gained specific knowledge and skills that tie into critical parts of the program’s and course’s student learning outcomes.

13) Use of Results/Program Modifications: State How the Program Used the Results --or-- Explain Planned Use of Results

Planned use of results:
a)   Further develop course for future student cohorts.
b)   Further develop questionnaire to expand assessment potential.
c)   Assess whether course is meeting the program’s SLOs. If so, how to strengthen the connection (alignment) between course and program SLOs. If not, how to bring them closer in alignment.

14) Reflect on the Assessment Process

a)    Will attempt more sophisticated assessment and analysis next time.
b)    Will have an objective component (e.g., external evaluation) in addition to a self-report questionnaire.

What went well?

Generated a heightened interest on the part of instructor in assessing whether students were learning what he intended them to learn and developing a simple tool to begin the process of inquiry and evaluation.

15) Other Important Information

This was a useful exercise that will be more fully developed with experience and continued learning about best practices in assessment.

In addition to the specific assessment example above, other types of assessment exist in the journalism program. The UH Today Web site and the embedded Campus Connections TV show (website address is: http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/uhtoday/fall2008/) are examples of what was used in the Journalism 402 class to assess student learning outcomes in the overall program.

The past year or two (2008-2009) we also assessed structural problems with the program that might have affected enrollment, which led to these changes:

a. Admitting students with sophomore status, rather than limiting admissions to juniors;

b. Dropping the requirement that students must maintain a 3.0 gpa to graduate.

In the past we also did exit surveys but did not do one in 2009 because of resource limitations. These may be reinstated in the future.

In the past, journalism faculty members asked the Center for Teaching Excellence to do a series of mid-semester feedback sessions over several years during the implementation of the new curriculum. Participating faculty responded to CTE suggestions.

Journalism faculty member Prof. Ann Auman and former faculty member Jonathan Lillie have researched the UH Manoa journalism program's media convergence curriculum. They have published and given presentations on "team-teaching models in a media convergence curriculum." Knowledge gained from this research has been shared with the UH Assessment Office, as well as colleagues in the department and beyond.

16) FOR DISTANCE PROGRAMS ONLY: Explain how your program/department has adapted its assessment of student learning in the on-campus program to assess student learning in the distance education program.


17) FOR DISTANCE PROGRAMS ONLY: Summarize the actual student learning assessment results that compare the achievement of students in the on-campus program to students in the distance education program.