In 2013, NCA received a grant from Lumina Foundation to fund a two-phase, faculty-driven Learning Outcomes in Communication (LOC) project. LOC brings together 30 Communication faculty members to answer the question, “When students complete a program of study in Communication, what should they know, understand, and be able to do?” The faculty participants employ a “Tuning” process consisting of five recombinable components to articulate expected student learning outcomes in Communication.
A unique dimension of the LOC project is that it explores bridging the Tuning process and the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) within the discipline of Communication. Tuning is a collaborative process that convenes experts in a discipline to identify and articulate the distinctive skills, methods, and substantive range of the discipline. The DQP defines expected student learning outcomes (regardless of major or institution) at each degree level.
The overall project has two phases. Phase I is the “Tuning” process where NCA will facilitate six groups of Communication faculty members, who will work to identify the disciplinary core and map career pathways, and then will seek feedback from various stakeholders, including potential employers, other disciplinary faculty, and civic groups. (For more information about Tuning, visit www.tuningUSA.org.) The groups will bridge their Tuning processes with the DQP at various times throughout their work.
Phase II of the project will convene two interdisciplinary teams to consider how the Tuning results can contribute to the quality of a degree overall, regardless of major, using the DQP framework for assessing and advancing student learning.
The goals of the project are to productively support curriculum planning and improvement within the Communication discipline, and to help position Communication centrally in institutions’ general education curriculum development efforts.
As a result of the LOC project's support from the Lumina Foundation, NCA was also asked to participate in the Measuring College Learning (MCL) Project. Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Teagle Foundation, MCL strives to define and measure college learning in six key disciplines: Biology, Business, Communication, Economics, History, and Sociology.