Evaluating the Course Curriculum for a Graduate Course Focused on Teaching and Learning in Informal Spaces

Monday 4:30pm-6:00pm SERC Building - Atrium | Poster #10
Poster Session Part of Monday Poster Session


Emma Betz, University of British Columbia
Laura Lukes, University of British Columbia
Frederick Beeby Maglaque, University of British Columbia
Kirsten Hodge, University of British Columbia
The SCI-LEnS (Student-Curated Informal Learning and Engagement Spaces) Project at the University of British Columbia (UBC) seeks to create a new graduate course that develops graduate students' science communication skills in informal settings (e.g., museums, media). Students, faculty, and local partners (a science center, technology studio, and several collections-based science museums) helped shape the course goals, objectives, and curriculum. As part of the iterative design process, course materials were evaluated to ensure learning support activities (e.g., assignments) and assessments aligned with desired course outcomes. Evaluation was done by gathering SCI-LENS partner feedback, conducting student focus groups, and refining then applying established syllabus (Palmer et al. 2014) and course materials (InTegRate) rubrics to the SCI-LEnS materials. Partner feedback suggests the course design achieved the original broad project goals. However, partners identified several areas to improve, including a need to be more concise and to outline overall and weekly expectations for assignments and activities. Partners also suggested several useful case studies from their lines of work for weekly modules. The student focus group helped determine if students would register for a course like this, what activities and aspects of the course they liked, and what they felt was missing or would change about the course. Finally, applying refined rubrics to the syllabus and course content identified areas that could be improved (i.e., reframing how the objectives and assessments are outlined, making some language more inclusive and measurable). Overall, scores from rubrics indicated the course falls within the range of a learning-focused course. By utilizing several methods to review the course materials, areas for improvement were identified and student needs could be better anticipated prior to the course being offered. Future work includes revising the course based on evaluation data and running the course in 2025 at UBC.