Unit: Communications
Program: Communication (BA)
Degree: Bachelor's
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2010 - 11:46:22 am

1) Below are the program student learning outcomes submitted last year. Please add/delete/modify as needed.

Abstracted from the Catalog & the Website: The undergraduate program reflects the department's commitment to the mission of the College of Social Sciences: to offer courses that provide students with a sound understanding of fundamental communication processes in contexts ranging from formal organizations to the community, and the society at large. The program also provides students the opportunity to select courses that allow them to specialize in a variety of interest areas within the field, including interpersonal communication, intercultural communication, international communication, organizational communication, information and communication technologies, telecommunication and multimedia production. Specialization pathways can be self-selected or chosen in consultation with a faculty advisor.
Among the learning outcomes we anticipate are that students can:

  1. Design communication and media projects to make meaningful contributions to diverse social, professional, or academic communities.
  2. Reflect critically on communication products such as media productions, research and policy reports and everyday texts.
  3. Demonstrate preparedness for academic and professional careers in communication.

2) As of last year, your program's SLOs were published as follows. Please update as needed.

Department Website URL: http://www.communications.hawaii.edu/com/pages/undergrad.html
Student Handbook. URL, if available online:
Information Sheet, Flyer, or Brochure URL, if available online: NA
UHM Catalog. Page Number: 108
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online: http://socialsciences.people.hawaii.edu/esyllabi/index.cfm
Other: Most faculty post syllabi on their own UHM websites
Other: Department website -- http://www.communications.hawaii.edu/com/pages/undergrad.html

3) Below is the link to your program's curriculum map (if submitted in 2009). If it has changed or if we do not have your program's curriculum map, please upload it as a PDF.

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2009:

4) The percentage of courses in 2009 that had course SLOs explicitly stated on the syllabus, a website, or other publicly available document is indicated below. Please update as needed.


5) State the assessment question(s) and/or goals of the assessment activity. Include the SLOs that were targeted, if applicable.

The specific SLO(s) that were targeted include:

  1. design communication and media projects to make meaningful contributions to diverse social, professional or academic communities.
  2. reflect critically on communication products such as media productions, research and policy reports and everyday texts.
  3. demonstrate preparedness for academic and professional careers in communication.

During the current assessment period, our faculty has been focused on preparation and planning for our revised curriculum that started in fall 2010.  The first full assessments of the revised program are anticipated to occur in the spring of 2012.

For those who are graduating prior to spring 2012, our goal is to evaluate the following:   

  1. Does the student demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate communication research presented in journals, scholarly texts, textbooks, and other media?
  2. Does the student demonstrate mastery of the communication curriculum by creation of an original research project related to an area of personal interest? In doing so, are they able to identify potential career paths within the field?
  3. Is the student able to communicate both orally and in writing the outcome of their independent research project to peers, faculty, and the larger community?

6) State the type(s) of evidence gathered.

COM 490, our senior capstone project, requires students to critically evaluate communication research presented in journals, scholarly texts, and textbooks and to design and implement an original communications research project. At project completion, students share this information with peers and faculty. SLOs are built into the design and grading of this required course.

For our revised curriculum, we created and tested an online survey instrument for assessing SLOs in our introductory course, 201. This will also aid in planning for future courses by tracking student intentions.

7) Who interpreted or analyzed the evidence that was collected?

Course instructor(s)
Faculty committee
Ad hoc faculty group
Department chairperson
Persons or organization outside the university
Faculty advisor
Advisors (in student support services)
Students (graduate or undergraduate)

8) How did they evaluate, analyze, or interpret the evidence?

Used a rubric or scoring guide
Scored exams/tests/quizzes
Used professional judgment (no rubric or scoring guide used)
Compiled survey results
Used qualitative methods on interview, focus group, open-ended response data
External organization/person analyzed data (e.g., external organization administered and scored the nursing licensing exam)

9) State how many persons submitted evidence that was evaluated.
If applicable, please include the sampling technique used.

An average of 35-38 students completed the 490 capstone each semester. It was offered in both spring and fall.  The pilot survey administered in 201 was completed by 55 students in spring 2010.

10) Summarize the actual results.

Examination of the final projects submitted in 490 leads us to find that the Communication program is successful in its goals of providing a broad basis of understanding of fundamental communication processes in a variety of contexts, including organizational and intercultural communication, interpersonal communication, information and communication technologies and policy, and the media arts. The program successfully prepares the majority of our graduates to be active citizens and to successfully pursue a variety of communication careers. In addition, many 490 projects were aligned with specific career goals.

The pilot survey demonstrated that 201 is successfully introducing students the field of communication. The following survey questions used a five-point scale (1 = strongly disagree and 5= strongly agree) to address our SLOs:

1.      I was introduced to ways to critically evaluate communication processes, products and effects (40% strongly agreed, 49.1% agree, mean = 4.18)

2.      I was introduced to professional career options in communication (29.1% strongly agreed, 52.7% agree, mean = 4.02)

3.      I was introduced to areas of academic inquiry in communication (36.4% strongly agreed, 50.9% agree, mean = 4.13)

4.      I was introduced to a range of communication and media projects that COM majors may learn how to produce (43.6% strongly agreed, 38.2% agree, mean = 4.18)

11) How did your program use the results? --or-- Explain planned use of results.
Please be specific.

The 490 capstone findings are being considered as we design the four new capstone courses for the revised curriculum. The 201 pilot survey is currently being revised and will become an ongoing process to aid in assessment.

12) Beyond the results, were there additional conclusions or discoveries? This can include insights about assessment procedures, teaching and learning, program aspects and so on.

Please see 13) Other important information

13) Other important information:

During the past year, our faculty has been focused on preparation and planning for our revised curriculum.  This has involved restructuring several courses to bring them into alignment with SLOs, as well as developing milestones for assessment. The new sequence will lead to capstone courses first being offered in spring 2012. At that time, we anticipate that students will have built portfolios and completed a capstone project. These capstones will be formally assessed by faculty and external evaluators.

In addition to the 201 pilot survey, we have performed the following assessment activities for the new curriculum:

  1.  In April, 2010, we launched CommHive, an online community for communications professionals in Hawaii, School of Communications alumni, and students (http://www.commhive.com/).  We created a forum with program information for current students, and we anticipate that CommHive will also enable us to track the career paths of graduates in the future (providing additional assessment opportunities from alumni and employers). CommHive was developed in-house with the aid of two graduate assistants.
  2. Our introductory course, COM 201, was modified to include writing assignments that can be sampled for eventual program assessment/online portfolios. 
  3. We sought and gained approval from PCC and VCAA for our three "foundations" courses (310, 320, 330) and four capstone courses (476, 477, 478, 479). These courses include top-level objectives/SLOs that are in line with our curriculum map (i.e., matrix, from question 3).  At the course level, individual instructors checked to ensure that SLOs were linked to grading, and this was made explicit in syllabi.  
  4.  In the fall of 2010, we launched a new course, 310 and new versions of 320 and 330. Each course has objectives that fit into the curriculum map. For example, the syllabus for 310 includes the following:

    Student Learning Outcomes

    Successful completion of this course will require you to:

    1.  analyze communication and media projects that make meaningful contributions to diverse social, professional or academic communities

    2.  critically evaluate multimedia products

    3.  explore careers in related areas of communication”

    A table illustrating “Student Learning Outcomes and Grading” is also included. Each assignment is explicitly linked to one or more SLOs

  5. In September, 2010, faculty began to research online portfolios. We are still actively evaluating these for use in the new curriculum.
  6. A great deal of ad hoc communication between faculty, particularly those spearheading development in each of the four tracks to ensure that the individual tracks and capstones are balanced and meet built-in assessment criteria.