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Center for Teaching and Learning

Focused Inquiry Groups (FIGs) - Title III

Global and Cultural Involvement

Area of Inquiry

The purpose of this faculty inquiry group (FIG) was to assess one of the college-wide learning outcomes, global and cultural involvement, in a variety of disciplines.  The FIG identified all of the Chabot College course-level student learning outcomes (CLOs) that had been designated as related to global and cultural involvement and categorized them into four categories- awareness/understanding, analysis, action/involvement, and aesthetic appreciation.  Each of these categories were represented by the CLOs of the faculty in this FIG, so the differences between the categories and the relative representation of each category across campus were discussed.   The group provided the first glimpse at the status of student learning of global and cultural involvement across the college, and discussed possible reasons for the results.  

Discoveries To Date

Exploring the Four Categories of Global and Cultural Involvement (GCI)
(Awareness/Understanding, Analysis, Involvement/Action, and Aesthetic)

At the first meeting of the GCI FIG in October 2009, the members reviewed all the GCI-related course-level student learning outcomes (SLOs) at Chabot, as well as a sample of GCI-related SLOs and rubrics from other colleges. They agreed that these SLOs could be categorized into four types of SLOs— Awareness/Understanding, Analysis, Involvement/Action, and Aesthetic. These categories encompassed the given categories for GCI (Aesthetic Responsiveness, Human Context, Environmental, and Familiarity with multiple paradigms and methodologies)

During the semester, the FIG members selected or wrote GCI-related SLOs for their own courses, assessed them, and then met to discuss their results. During this meeting, they also chose which category their SLO best fit.

Categorizing their SLOs into these areas provided some insights about the value of and the differences between these categories. They seem to be useful and distinct categories, since Global and Cultural Involvement encompasses too many facets to be assessed holistically. The Awareness/Analysis/Action categories seemed to be a progression along a continuum, while the Aesthetic area seemed to be on a different scale. While it was clear which SLOs fell into the Awareness/Understanding or the Analysis categories, members disagreed about what constituted Involvement/Action. Therefore, this category could use a discussion among Chabot faculty about the types of learning outcomes they want to expect in this area.

Members realized that we can’t really expect analysis without awareness and understanding. However, an SLO about awareness and understanding is valid in itself. And an SLO about analysis usually contains or assumes some awareness and understanding within it.

What was striking about this FIG was the diversity of courses, across the curriculum, that were either explicitly or implicitly teaching about global/cultural involvement. Most of these courses assessed an Awareness/Understanding SLO or an Analysis SLO. Only one assessed an Involvement/Action SLO, and only one assessed an Aesthetic SLO.

This FIG shows that some courses at Chabot are providing a good foundation in Global and Cultural Awareness and Understanding for students, and that there is also a good attempt at Global and Cultural Analysis in these courses. With only one example of Involvement/Action SLO in this group, there was a disagreement about whether immersion in a culture counted as involvement, or whether other types of action counted more or instead. In addition, it was unclear how much Involvement/Action was really being taught in Chabot classrooms, other than through Service Learning courses and credit, which could be a primary mechanism for this SLO if this program had not been cut during recent budget cuts. It was pointed out that plenty of GCI Involvement/Action was also being learned in student government, clubs, and other activities, but these outcomes were not being measured.

With only one example of Aesthetic GCI, this category was represented, but was not explored in depth.

Other notes:
If the course is not about global and culture involvement, and the assignment calls for analyzing culture, there is a need to be explicit about culture and provide that info to the students. We can’t assume that they can analyze culture, even though, or maybe because, they live among diverse cultures. Therefore, SLOs that ask for GCI Analysis may need to be included in courses that either include or can already assume that students have a basic awareness/understanding of GCI to allow students to provide an in depth analysis.

Some instructors noted that the students performed higher on the SLO than the grade they got on the assignment, because the SLO did not take into account all the other factors or SLOs, such as writing ability.

For courses that are not about culture explicitly, it is important to allow each instructor to choose to use an SLO related to global/cultural, so that it can be infused throughout the curriculum by the instructors who want to include it. This may support the idea of having generic GCI SLOs available for all courses to use, just like the Critical Thinking SLOs are available. In fact all College-wide Learning Outcomes (Critical Thinking, GCI, Communication, Civic Responsibility, and the Development of the Whole Person) could be made available for all courses, and instructors could either agree to include one or more in their joint courses, or individual instructors could choose one or more for their own sections.

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