The department-approved learning outcomes for Intro to Criminology are:
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
1. Explain, critique, and apply theories of crime (e.g. Classical, biological/psychological, social
structure, social process, social conflict)
2. Explain, and cite examples of, how theory informs policy and practice in Canada and globally
3. Compare and contrast the formal and informal techniques for measuring crime
4. Define and critique the concepts of crime and deviance
5. Discuss the evolution of criminal law and defences in Canada
6. Analyze the changing ecology of crime in Canada
7. Discuss contemporary societal issues that inform our understanding, and reaction to, crime
To these, I also add (verbally) that students will develop proficiency in writing skills (including proper referencing skills), critical thinking skills, and efficient note-taking skills.
These learning outcomes reflect a combination of low-level (explain, cite examples, define, discuss) and high-level cognitive skills (critique, apply, compare and contrast, analyze).
Student learning in this course is assessed through a range of writing activities (personal reflections, news critique), exams, referencing activities, and participation activities (comparing concepts, analyzing cases, applying concepts, quizzes of concepts, video debriefing).
I believe that the learning outcomes and assessments are aligned. The exams tend to assess the lower-level skills as well as a few of the higher level skills. The other assessments and graded learning activities promote the acquisition of high-level skills.
The learning outcomes that begin by “discuss” appear to be weaker as they lack specificity and it is not clear how we would assess them. They could perhaps be re-worded as:
-Synthesize the key contributors in the evolution of criminal law and analyze the applicability of legal defences in particular situations
-Analyze the ways in which contemporary societal issues inform our understanding, and reaction to, crime