Call for Learning Objectives

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One of the problems frequently cited in the SoTL literature is learning objectives. I’ve recently begun requiring my students to link their presentation objectives to class LOs as noted in the syllabus. They are having a terrible time doing it.

They are not the only ones. Many of my colleagues, to judge by syllabi linked online, also have a hard time defining clear LOs. Here’s my challenge to you: list your learning objectives (or a link thereto) here, and let’s all start looking at them.

Here are mine for my World Civ class to 1500. I welcome comments, suggestions (oh please!!) and critiques.

1. Students will analyze various kinds of visual art for what that art can inform them about the specific society/culture that produced it. To do this effectively, students will analyze their readings in the assigned text(s) so that they can compare and contrast the values, structures and issues of the producing society with those exhibited in the art.

2. Students will synthesize and evaluate the art for its relevance to the study of the history of the producing society/culture.

3. The analyses, syntheses and evaluations will be manifested in various products that each student will be communicating in both written and oral forms.

The full syllabus is available here.

Oklahoma City University


  1. I realize this is an older post, but am very interested in it for my Italian ESL classroom. I am working with a subject teacher on some learning objectves for an art history lesson taught in the English language. We have language learning objectives and content learning objectives, and many aspects often get blurred by the lesson’s multi-level aim. It would be helpful to have a clear syllabus from which to extract both language and content.

  2. Here are my goals for HI 216, a survey of modern Latin American history.

    Course Learning Goals, Assignment Explanations
    This course fulfills the NCSU History GEP (General Education Program) requirement for a non-English speaking culture. Each course in this category will help students to (goals 1-3 below):
    1. understand and engage in the human experience through the interpretation of evidence from the past situated in geotemporal context; and
    • Objective: analyze and explain the impact of major historical forces and events that shaped Latin America, with special attention to human rights issues.
    • Means of Evaluation: 1. Group oral presentation & wiki pages. 2. Longer essays, based on primary sources. 3. Short “thought questions” and online commentaries on a small set of historical documents. 4.
    • Student Outcomes: Through written assignments and discussions, students should demonstrate that they can formulate logical, credible interpretations of past events based on historical documentation.
    2. become aware of the act of historical interpretation itself, through which historians use varieties of evidence to offer perspectives on the meaning of the past;
    • Objective: Locate, evaluate, critique, and interpret historical evidence, including primary and scholarly secondary sources, Internet and audio-video materials.
    • Means of evaluation: 1. Classroom discussions. 2. Short “thought questions,” brief word commentaries, comparing textbook and other scholarly interpretations with primary source evidence. 3. Online discussions, 4. Group presentations.
    • Student Outcomes: Students should demonstrate, in writing and discussion, an understanding that history is not merely a mass of facts but also a perspective through which they can analyze events, past and present.
    3. make academic arguments about history using reasons and evidence for supporting those reasons that are appropriate to the discipline of history;”
    • Objective: Synthesize evidence and organize it into logical historical presentations (essays and wiki pages), phrased in clear, grammatical active-voice prose.
    • Means of evaluation: 1. Longer essays. 2. Participation in classroom discussions 3. Performance in online discussions. 4. Wiki pages
    • Student Outcomes: Students should construct reasoned, logical interpretations of the past, firmly grounded in primary and secondary historical sources.
    4. practice and improve critical thinking. (closely related to 3 above).
    1. Objectives: Students will progress from learning facts to making critically reasoned judgments grounded in the academic content of the course. [Evidence growth in the higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy, notably evaluation, analysis, and synthesis of historical evidence.]
    2. Means of evaluation: Longer essays, based on primary documents. 2. Online discussions 3. Group oral presentation and wiki pages.
    3. Student Outcomes: Students should demonstrate the intellectual ability, in their written and oral assignments, to evaluate, analyze, and synthesize historical sources into logical arguments.

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