For Instructors of General Education Courses
General Education and the Inquiry-based Approach
The General Education program places special emphasis on helping students to become more intellectually skilled through inquiry-based teaching and learning. Inquiry-based General Education engages students actively in learning and thinking about essential knowledge, issues and questions. As students gain knowledge they also learn to use knowledge more effectively, to ask and answer questions, solve problems, develop ideas and make sound judgments.
Guidelines to think about before proposing a course:
(DOs) The GEC encourages proposals for
1) Courses that are designed for a general audience. “General Education is the common educational experience for all undergraduates at UWL.” Courses should be designed for a general audience, and should be either introductory, survey, or 300/400 courses without prerequisites.
2) Courses should be representative of a specific category. General Education “is uniquely concerned with the broad education of the whole person…” The GEC wants courses that introduce students to different fields and expose them to different perspectives. Proposed courses should have a strong case for representing the category they’re placed in, since they may be the only course a student takes in that category. Multi-disciplinary courses can bring different disciplines/perspectives together.
3) Courses that incorporate Inquiry-based Teaching and Learning The General Education program “…plays a vital role in preparing students for life beyond the university.” Proposed courses should emphasize helping students to become more intellectually skilled through inquiry-based teaching and learning.
4) Courses with appropriate Student Learning Outcomes. Proposers should carefully choose the most appropriate distribution of SLOs for the content and learning activities of the course.
5) Courses with an informed, vigorous assessment plan. The course should have a plan for measuring the extent to which students actually achieve the intended outcomes of the course.
(DON’Ts) The GEC discourages proposals for
1) Courses that are intended for specific majors and minors. Proposed courses should generally be introductory/survey courses or 300/400 level courses with a general audience in mind. Courses should have open enrollment, except in cases where resources are an issue.
2) Courses that significantly overlap other GenEd courses. This wastes both University resources and student credit hours.
3) Courses from a single department in too many different categories. Students should gain breadth of knowledge and a variety of perspectives from the GenEd program. Too many courses from a single discipline (especially when such courses count toward a major/minor) runs counter to this goal. Courses in a category should be representative of the disciplines and perspectives that reside in that category. Departments with courses that satisfy a category requirement should be consulted before a new course is approved for that category.
4) Courses that are too specific in focus. Most courses at UW-L can meet several General Education SLOs even though the material is too discipline specific to be considered general education. Courses should be designed for a general audience, and with a relatively broad perspective.
Proposing a Course:
Deleting a Course (new as of 2-27-09):
Contact Bryan Kopp for more information