You are here: Home / Teaching Community / Writing Student Learning Outcomes

Student Learning Outcomes

Measurable course-specific statements aligned with classroom process and course assessment

Essential Learning Outcomes

Our campus has crafted and adopted the UW Oshkosh Essential Learning Outcomes (ELOs).  These ELOs are broad categories or arenas of learning around which our entire curriculum is built (USP courses, degree requirements, and courses identified for major and minor requirements and electives).  The ELO categories include knowledge, skills, and responsibilities.
Every USP course is associated with up to three of the UW Oshkosh Essential Learning Outcome categories. When courses are submitted for review and approval, the submitter checks up to three ELOs on the USP form, designating those broad categories as most appropriate for the course (e.g. "oral and written communication" or "critical and creative thinking.")  These campus-wide learning categories will guide our program assessment for USP and other programs.  Students will also document their progress toward the ELOs in their ePortfolios. Employers affirm that the ELOs are more important to a college-graduate's success than the student's major (see AAC&U April 2013 article on news page).

Student Learning Outcomes

Student learning outcomes are more specific statements than the Essential Learning Outcome categories. The campus community created and voted upon the ELOs; in contrast,individual instructors craft student learning outcomes for each course. These specific student learning outcome statements indicate what students will know and be able to do as a result of their engagement in a specific course.

During course construction and revision, instructors are encouraged to participate in "backwards design" - first imagining the grand vision for what a student might learn in a course and then working backwards to determine how that might occur. Eventually, well-written, specific, measurable student learning outcomes are constructed to create shared expectations among the instructor and students. During course design, instructors can also align classroom process and course assessment with the carefully crafted student learning outcomes.

For assistance with writing student learning outcomes that enhance student learning, check this resource:

Writing Student Learning Outcomes Resource Info with Examples and Links