Big Impacts: Assessing and communicating the value of learning initiatives

Concurrent Session 4
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

Research-intensive universities have long been charged with favoring research over teaching and many liberal arts institutions favor face-to-face instruction. However, in the last few years, major teaching and learning initiatives have had an extensive impact on the discourse on teaching and learning at the highest levels of the university.  In this conversational session we will explore how we assess the impacts of learning initiatives and communicate these to adminstrators, our campus communities, funders, and legislators.


Mike Goudzwaard is a Learning Designer for in-person and online courses at Dartmouth College and a mentor and supervisor in the college’s Learning Assistant program. He works with faculty to empower student learning through community engagement, emerging instructional pedagogy, and educational technology. Mike is the Lead Designer and Developer for Dartmouth's digital learning initiatives. He leads the Learning Design group of technologists, faculty developers, and pedagogy experts who work to align space and technical resources for learning at Dartmouth. Mike writes at

Extended Abstract

Research-intensive universities are often criticized as not placing a primary focus on teaching – issues of teaching and learning are not often discussed at the highest levels of the institution.  The development of learning spaces, based on sound pedagogical principles, has had an enormous impact on the physical campuses of many institutions, but how do we assess and communicate that impact to stakeholders?

In this conversation that works, participants will consider questions such as:

  • Have the development of MOOCs, Learning Spaces and other teaching and learning initiatives have changed the profile of teaching and learning on your campus?
  • Do course redesign projects and funded learning projects produce sustained changed to support student learning?
  • How do you build a culture of project evaluation in your learning initiative projects?
  • Who is the audience who should be engaged in your learning initiatives (administrators, faculty, students, alumni, community members, global learners)?

Participants will contribute to a shared assessment and communication plan that they can take back to their campuses and adapt to their own contexts.