12 – Development and Piloting of a Curriculum Mapping Survey


  • Alexa Clemmons, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences, UW Seattle
  • Deb Donovan, Biology Department, College of Science and Engineering, Western Washington University
  • Alison Crowe, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences, UW Seattle


Following the principles of backward design, instructional planning should begin with identifying student learning outcomes. Curriculum mapping is a tool for aligning intended programmatic learning outcomes with current course offerings, in order to identify gaps, redundancies, and strengths in a degree program. However, gathering this information requires coordinating communication among all faculty in a department, a time-consuming and messy process.

To ease the process of data collection and analysis during curriculum mapping, we have begun developing a survey for departments to gather self-reported data on the frequency and assessment of learning outcomes taught in each of their courses. In this poster, we present our findings for the question “Can a faculty survey gather valid and useful curriculum mapping data?” To establish and improve validity based on response processes, we iteratively revised the survey using think aloud interviews with biology faculty (the intended survey users, n=10). Next, we piloted the survey in the biology departments of 6 institutions (n≈6-50 instructors).

These pilots allowed us to test:

  1. The validity based on response processes via probing questions asking respondents to explain their responses (analyzed for evidence of survey response processes errors),
  2. The response scale and internal validity (by examining the distribution of responses and correlation of responses to related questions), and
  3. The tool’s utility via open-ended questions at the end of the survey and informal feedback from curriculum leaders at each pilot institution (analyzed by thematic analysis).

Finally, we compared instructor survey responses with independent review of course materials (syllabi, major assessments) as well as their students’ responses to a related survey. Analyses are ongoing at the time of abstract submission. We believe this tool could be valuable in any department that has identified program learning outcomes and is interested in curriculum mapping to make data-driven programmatic decisions.

View a PDF of this poster

17 – A CAUSE for Change: Exploring Faculty Adoption of Evidence-Based Teaching


  • Mallory Jackson, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences, UW Seattle
  • Sungmin Moon, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences, UW Seattle
  • Jennifer Doherty, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences, UW Seattle
  • Mary Pat Wenderoth, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences, UW Seattle


Evidence-based teaching has been shown to improve student learning in STEM courses. Faculty professional development programs can support implementation of evidence-based teaching methods. Following recommendations in the literature, we piloted the Consortium for the Advancement of Undergraduate Student Education (CAUSE). Each year, faculty from seven STEM departments enter a two-year program that pairs exploration of evidence-based teaching with support for classroom implementation. Faculty meet biweekly with the program facilitator to read literature about evidence-based teaching methods such as clicker questions, discuss how to implement these methods, and report back on successes and barriers. Faculty also observe classes on campus that include strong examples of evidence-based teaching. For each participant, we collect four lecture recordings and their students’ course exam scores each quarter. We code evidence-based teaching in lectures using the Practical Observation Tool to Assess Active Learning and provide this feedback to faculty. We also provide feedback on course exams by analyzing them for any achievement gaps.

Based on data from all the faculty (n = 47) who have enrolled in CAUSE, we have observed that many change their teaching, but the amount and type of evidence-based teaching varies, especially among departments. We asked three questions: 1) Which evidence-based methods do faculty most commonly implement during CAUSE? 2) What factors contribute to the variation in implementation among faculty? 3) Which aspects of CAUSE do faculty report are most supportive of their teaching? To explore these questions, we conducted interviews with a subset of faculty and qualitatively analyzed them to explore common themes. Preliminary results suggest that faculty often use multiple-choice polling questions and ask students to volunteer answers due to ease of implementation in large classes. Faculty report that CAUSE has broadened their knowledge and perspectives of evidence-based teaching across STEM disciplines and provided practical feedback on their teaching.

39 – The Post-Course Reflection: An Alternative Assessment Methodology


Tylir McKenzie, Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences, UW Seattle


This poster presents a new form of student assessment, the Post-Course Reflection or PCR, that can be used across a number of different modalities (face-to-face, hybrid and online) and disciplines. This assignment is a comprehensive, end of term reflective assessment of student learning that was developed to address what I felt was the short falls found in many traditional assessment methods. Stemming from a feminist pedagogic perspective which (among other principles) values student experience, reflection and challenging traditional pedagogic norms, the post-course reflection assignment centralizes the student as active, responsible and collaborative agents not just the learning process, but the evaluation process of their learning.

Tested at three different institutions over the past eight years, and used in ten different courses across multiple disciplines and all teaching modalities, the post-course reflection assignment has become the cornerstone of my assessment methods in my courses. I share both my personal experiences with using the PCR in the classroom, as well as feedback and data I have collected from my students about the assignment. Through self-study methodology, this project shares challenges and successes throughout the years, as well as the multiple revisions and iterations the assignment has gone through in order to better serve instructors and students alike. In line with these methodological practices, the sharing of this project’s information is two-fold: one, to share the assignment and the knowledge gained from the research about it, and two, to engage others in critique and inquiry about the entirety of the project.

This project applies to instructors in both the natural and social sciences. It is of particular interest to those who wish to engage their students in collaborative assessment methods, as well as instructors who may be interested in using self-study as a research methodology.

41 – The Rhetorical Role of Syllabi in Student Conversations About Disability


Neil Simpkins, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Bothell


This poster describes how students with disabilities use syllabi as a communication tool when discussing their disability access needs with college instructors. Understanding how students with disabilities use syllabi rhetorically can assist instructors in designing inclusive syllabi that invite open conversations about disability access with students.

Derived from a qualitative interview dataset that is part of a larger project examining how students with disabilities experience college writing, this poster reviews a subset of interview data discussing the role syllabi played in student interactions with instructors. Students described encounters related to syllabi in a wide range of classroom settings, from graduate coursework to large lectures to smaller discussion seminars. Through rounds of process and versus coding (Saldaña 2009), three categories emerged. Students with disabilities saw syllabi as a frame for communicating with instructors about their access needs, as a script for their in-person interactions, and as a contract for understanding the power relationships that flowed among themselves, their fellow students, and their instructors.

This presentation contributes to a small but growing conversation about the role that syllabi play in shaping student experiences with disability in higher education (Wood and Madden 2014, Dolmage 2015, Womack 2017). Instructors will get practical advice for writing syllabi that encourage positive disability access conversations; for example, some suggestions include articulating access philosophies as part of the disability accommodation statement and using course calendars to scaffold the workload over the quarter in accommodation conversations with students. Additionally, the presentation will raise questions for participants regarding philosophies of their teaching in relation to disability access. One finding of note describes how pedagogical moves often made in the spirit of redistributing power in the classroom (e.g., co-designing syllabi and rubrics) can sometimes inadvertently disenfranchise students with disabilities.

46 – Which Components of Evidence-Based Teaching Impact Student Learning?


  • Sungmin Moon, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences, UW Seattle
  • Mallory Jackson, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences, UW Seattle
  • Jennifer Doherty, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences, UW Seattle
  • Mary Pat Wenderoth, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences, UW Seattle


Meta-analyses consistently show that active learning techniques are associated with better student academic performance than traditional lecture. However, there is still not sufficient evidence to determine what type, frequency, or amount of time of active learning is most effective for enhancing student learning. We do not know if there are differential impacts of active learning on different student groups. We posed the following three research questions: (a) Were there specific teaching profiles based on evidence-based teaching practice intensities and durations, (b) Which evidence-based teaching practices were most effective in improving student academic performance on exams at different levels of academic challenge, and (c) Were there any specific practices which had a differential impact on student academic performance by gender?

We had a total of 48 units of courses and exams to analyze, which were taught by 34 faculty, as some faculty taught two units. We used a classroom observation tool, PORTAAL, to document the frequency and presence of practices. We analyzed PORTAAL scores using latent profile analysis to find specific teaching profiles and used structural equation modeling to investigate which practices had the greatest impact on student learning. We found three different teaching profiles based on the type and amount of practices implemented in biology classes at a Research 1 university. We found that small group activities, positive feedback from the instructor, and alternative answers explained were the most effective practices for improving student academic performance. On cognitively challenging exams, only instructors classified as high evidence-based teaching profile maximized student performance by using small group work, having students explain the logic and by explain alternative answers. Finally, small group work offered an additional benefit to women. This is the first study to determine the impact of specific teaching practices on student performance on exams at different levels of academic challenge.

50 – Activating Autonomy: Using Student Choice to Fuel Effective Instructional Design


Jonathan M. Rizzardi, School of Drama, UW Seattle


For some learners undergraduate study fits into a catalogue of educational experiences that are marred by pedantic, authoritarian control over the objectives and discourse of classroom instruction. Even in Drama courses – a presumably learner-centered sphere – students are often restrained by what Paulo Freire refers to as the “banking model of education” through emphasis on memorization and recitation, and run the risk of repositioning their desires in higher education away from fruitful ambitions like intellectual advancement, educational fulfillment, and development of 21st-century stills, towards a process of learning pinioned by requirement and necessity.

How can we as educators, mentors, and advocates for learning in higher education theatre classrooms design instructional practices that captivate student interest while upholding the rigor of university instruction? What role do our students themselves have over the crafting, direction, and mediation of our pedagogical practices?

This scholarly teaching practice presentation investigates how instructional and curricular design strategies that provide undergraduate students agency over the process of their learning can positively impact student educational achievement and enjoyment. Drawing from educational theories supported by Freirian pedagogical frameworks, Luis C. Moll’s theory of cultural funds of knowledge, and culturally relevant teaching practices promoted through the work of Gloria Ladson-Billings and Sonia Nieto, my presentation will highlight the importance of securing student investment in course content through choice and define a model that educators can follow to foreground student autonomy in their instructional design and teaching practices. Informed by reflection on teaching practices in Drama classrooms over the course of the past ten years, and specifically using student surveys and instructional design practices from a recent iteration of the UW School of Drama’s course “Drama 201: Plays and Styles” my presentation will position the ways that my current research can be used to impact student learning across the entire campus community.