University of Massachusetts Amherst

UMass Amherst: General Education

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Course Approval & Governance



Instructional Services for Adding a 4th Credit

Instructional Services


Center for Teaching (CFT)
The Center for Teaching (CFT) staff offers a range of consultation services related to all phases of course design (e.g., planning, implementation, and assessment). Instructors can meet with a CFT consultant to: prepare a syllabus; develop new goals for student learning and design assessment strategies for them, incorporate technology into a course, design innovative teaching strategies appropriate to the class size, and build in opportunities for student feedback. Contact the office at 413-545-1225 or visit the CFT's website.

Midterm Assessment Process (MAP): MAP is an opportunity for instructors to get student feedback on a selected course while the semester is in progress. This can be especially helpful when launching the 4th credit because it allows you to gauge how and what students are learning and get insight into their perceptions of the course while it is in progress.

OIT Academic Computing
Faculty considering using technology to add a credit to a Gen Ed course can contact Academic Computing for help. Academic Computing staff can consult with faculty who are just starting to explore whether a given technology will work for them and their course. They offer one-on-one or group workshops for faculty who wish to learn how to use a specific technology. Visit the Academic Computing Web site for ideas and tips.

SPARK: Technological tools like SPARK can simplify basic classroom administrative tasks and free up time for the instructor to attend to other matters; they can also provide opportunities for you to address a variety of General Education learning objectives. Learn about a number of useful resources and see examples of how some instructors are using SPARK.

Learning Resource Center (LRC)
The Learning Resource Center offers students peer-led tutoring and supplemental instruction review sessions for a number of General Education courses. The Center can also help facilitate collaborative learning opportunities for students in your class through its Peer-Led-Team-Learning program. Visit the website or contact LRC Director Susan Bronstein for more information.

University Libraries
The UMass Amherst Librarians can collaborate with instructors to develop and incorporate information literacy skills into their General Education courses. Support options include the creation of online learning modules, course guides, and other tools. Visit the Libraries Instruction web page or contact Madeleine Charney for further information.

Center for Educational Software Development (CESD)
CESD services currently support a variety of large General Education courses, including the OWL system, which provides online instructional and homework activities as well as online testing. CESD staff can help faculty determine if there are features that can be used to expand current 3-credit Gen Ed offerings into 4-credits. Possibilities include the addition of multimedia tutorials and simulations, short essay assignments, and custom evaluation features (e.g. grading computer programming assignments). For more information contact Dave Hart via e-mail or at 413-545-3278, or visit the CESD website.

Community Service Learning (CSL)
The Community Service Learning office is available to meet with interested faculty members to provide materials and ongoing support for the integration of service learning into their courses. Additional resources include: sample syllabi, readings and other materials on service learning pedagogy. The Community Service Learning office can be contacted via e-mail or at 413-577-2959.

Academic Planning and Assessment (OAPA)
OAPA offers assessment resources to help instructors gather evidence of the effectiveness of their course additions. The Course-Based Assessment Handbook provides a number of examples of methods for gathering information about students’ experiences in your class. OAPA also offers individual consultation on these techniques and ways to use the campus Student Response to Instruction (SRTI) course evaluation instrument as an assessment tool. Contact the office at 413-545-2564 or e-mail OAPA for more information.

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