I came away impressed by the variety of people committed to making students' first year a good one and the depth to which many have thought and worked in this area.
I took three themes away from the event:
1. It is critical that students be exposed to the big picture, big questions, big problems of a given field in order to draw them in and provide useful context for studying the details of a problem/course/discipline. Many instructors are redesigning their courses (and in one case, creating a new textbook) around this concept.
2. Institutional learning outcomes, such as those described by LEAP, must permeate down to the course level and not just left to the end of a career.
3. Portfolios. Academic Technology could be a significant part of the discussion on the practical side of students showing they have met the outcomes.
- students to make connections across multiple experiences
- students to reflect upon their experiences
- students to share their collections/reflections with others (including advisors, job interviewers, family)
- faculty, advisors, administrators to provide evidence of achieving LEAP outcomes
- graduates to provide evidence to future employers
- graduates to track their own learning over time
Here is my full collection of notes from the conference.