ASM events
This conference is managed by the American Society for Microbiology
Table of contents
No headers


Mary E Shaw

New Mexico Highlands University

Department of Biology and Chemistry

Box 9000

Las Vegas, New Mexico 87701



Learning Objectives Worksheet  


For which course or course unit will you write specific learning objectives? 


Biology 211 


BIG Dream Learning Goals: 

A year (or more) after this course is over, I want and hope students will: 

COGNITIVE-what they know 

AFFECTIVE-think or care about  

BEHAVIORAL-be able to do 

·Learn to learn and analyze whether or not they really understand 

·Understand that natural selection is not goal driven; mechanisms of evolution 

·Be open to new ideas 

·Be able to Express ideas/thoughts in biology 

·Interpret and construct graphs 

·Ask a scientific question and Design a way to test it 

·Know why experiments need a control and only one independent variable  

·Trace energy through an ecosystem 

·Determine science from non-science 

·Think critically 

·Support arguments with evidence – identify evidence that supports arguments 

·Be able to explain how global warming occurs and how carbon is involved 

·Work in diverse groups 

·Interconnectedness of knowledge 


Core Competencies from Vision and Change 



Measurable Learning Objectives: 


Students will be able to: 

·Trace energy through an ecosystem from the sun, through trophic levels, showing energy loss at different levels 

·Ask a scientific question and design a reasonable experiment to answer the question 

·Describe natural selection using an example  

·Support arguments with evidence 

·Become a self directed learner 

·Learn how to be a better student 

·Interpret and design graphs of data 

·Like learning 

·Explain how global warming occurs and how carbon is involved 

·Identify and correct misconceptions on natural selection processes

Situational Factors Worksheet[1] 


One of the first steps in the course design process is to carefully collect and analyze information about various situational factors that will affect the course.  Thorough analysis not only helps you identify important needs and contextual factors but also helps you answer later design questions about learning goals, meaningful forms of feedback and assessment, and appropriate teaching and learning activities. Skipping this step or doing a cursory job can easily lead to misinformed decisions later on.  


Note: For any given course, the following situational factors will vary in their importance.  As you answer the questions, concentrate on the factors most relevant to your course. 



Specific Context of the Teaching/Learning Situation 

How many students will be in the course? Is the course lower division, upper division, or graduate level? How long and frequent are the class meetings? How will the course be delivered: live, online, or in a classroom or lab? What physical elements of the learning environment will affect the class? 


About 60 students in this first semester science majors course.  It meets 2x per week for 75 minutes and has a separate 2 hour lab section 1 x per week.  One large room with no windows.  Table of 5-6 students in “lecture” 24 students in each lab section.   






General Context of the Learning Situation 

What learning expectations are placed on this course or curriculum by: the University, College and/or Department? the profession? society? 


Frist courses in the major’s series.  University’s Learning Goals are – communication, critical thinking, content, analytical and reflective thinking 




Nature of the Subject 

Is this subject primarily theoretical, practical/applied, or a combination? Is the subject primarily convergent (working toward a single right answer) or divergent (working toward multiple, equally valid interpretations)? Is the field of study relatively stable, in a period of rapid change, or in a situation where paradigms are challenging each other? 


Foundational understanding of major concepts that donot change but new interesting information is being discovered .  It is a combination of theoretical and applied.  Primarily convergent but open ended in that the reasons and thinking process are more important than the “right” answer 





Characteristics of the Learners 

What is the life situation of the learners (e.g., working, family, professional goals)? What are students’ reasons for enrolling? What prior experiences, knowledge, skills, and attitudes do students usually have about this subject? What do you already know, or what can you reasonably infer, about the students who will take your course?  For example, what are their learning goals, expectations, and preferred learning styles? 


Learners quite mixed.  Some just out of HS many returning.  Most want to work in medical field (Dr., pharmacy, etc.).  Most poorly prepared in academics but don’t realize it.  Mostly with poor study skills and little knowledge of how to reach goals.  Most working and/or family and/or sports.  Little time to devote to study.  Like video’s and hate reading.  Came from low resource schools. 




Characteristics of the Teacher 

Have you taught the subject before, or is this the first time?  Will you teach the course again in the future?  What prior experiences, knowledge, skills, and attitudes do you have about the subject?  What is your attitude toward students?  What beliefs and values do you have about teaching and learning?  What are your strengths in teaching? 


I’ve taught this courses several times and will be teaching it again in the future but others are also involved in teaching it.  I have been trying to bring in active learning techniques and limit lecturing.  I am discouraged over the low retention rate and apparent low learning level on objectives.  I love learning new things and am dismayed that too many others don’t.  I think that all students can learn but that it requires effort and making learning a priority. 


My strength is that I care about the students and want to be a good teacher. 




Special Pedagogical Challenge 

What special situation(s) in this course challenge(s) both students and teacher to make this a meaningful and important learning experience (e.g., fear of the subject or student preconceptions about the subject)? 


Open enrollment class so there is quite a variety of preparation among students.   Students are not used to deep learning or active learning, taking responsibility for own learning

[1]Adapted from L. Dee Fink, Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses (San-Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003): 68-73; and L. Dee Fink, A Self-Directed Guide to Designing Courses for Significant Learning, 2003.   Worksheet developed by the University of Virginia Teaching Resource Center.


Tag page

Files 1

FileSizeDateAttached by 
 evolution unit.docx
Evolution unit learning/assessment
137.64 kB20:43, 13 Jun 2013mshawActions
Viewing 2 of 2 comments: view all
·Explain how global warming occurs and how carbon is involved - how will you know that they can do this appropriately?
Posted 09:19, 13 Jun 2013
I, don't know. That is one of the things that I will have to work out!
Posted 20:44, 13 Jun 2013
Viewing 2 of 2 comments: view all
You must login to post a comment.