Courses are usually organized into instructional units or modules based on time constraints and/or topics. Teaching & Learning Services works with faculty to organize content according to the ORPA model:
The ORPA model should be applied to the course as a whole as well as to each module within the course. It provides a structure that helps integrate course elements and ensure that all learning objectives are met. The model requires that faculty determine the learning outcomes students will be required to demonstrate by the end of a course/module at the beginning of the design process.
It also lists all resources — text, multi-media, interactions and activities — that will be available to the student to learn and practice application of outcomes during the learning process. Finally, the assessment portion of the model is comprised of a variety of methods that are used to demonstrate effective learning.
Here's a closer look at each element of ORPA.
Outcomes are measurable performance goals that, at the course level, are sometimes cumulative---the result of a number of interim goals and objectives, or a portfolio of completed work that represents achievement of the overall outcome.
Having stated outcomes makes it easier for faculty to determine the learning resources, activities, and assessments that will enable students to learn and apply key concepts. Some examples of specific outcomes-oriented exercises and activities include:
|Outcome: At the end of the course, students will be able to…||Activities and Exercises|
|Research and synthesize information from primary sources to develop a position paper.||Have two groups of students defend the pro and con arguments for a re-visitation by the Supreme Court of Rowe vs. Wade.|
|Solve different types of differential equations.||Have students solve a set of differential equations, showing all work.|
|Develop financial plans using accepted industry formats||Have students present a completed financial plan for an organization incorporating the nine elements of the Stuart Method.|
When writing outcomes:
- Use action verbs, such as analyze, explain, discuss, predict, compare and create
- State the knowledge or skill to me mastered
- Articulate what a student must do to demonstrate learning.
The Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Office offers many resources for faculty to help them develop effective and relevant outcomes.
Resources are all of the reading, viewing, listening and interactive materials included in a module or course. They include everything from a text books to video streams to demonstrations. Resources can also be learned and applied processes and procedures.
Practice entails applying knowledge gained. Practice exercise in the form of homework, reports, and projects, for instance, allows instructors to check on their students' learning progress. Practice can also include labs, studio work, discussions and problem-solving.
Practice can be in the same form as assessments and can mark cumulative steps to reach a specific learning outcome or goal.
In general, there are two levels of learning:
- Learning to be
- Learning what and how
Learning to be a member of a discipline involves the appropriate use of a certain vocabulary and the implementation of the right problem solving methods to address challenges and concerns. Instructor-planned discussions, research reports and papers, case-study exercises, etc. are all forms of learning to be.
Learning what and how involves correctly manipulating the material and cognitive tools that are common to any given discipline. Examples of what and how are a manager writing memos and reports using specified content and formats, a printer setting up a four-color press, and a operations manager creating financial and risk-management plans for designing and building computer chips.
During assessment, students demonstrate in some observable and/or measurable way that learning has occurred. Additional assessment resources and assistance for faculty are available from the Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Office.
Teaching & Learning Services can work with you to apply the ORPA model to your courses and discuss ideas to present content and design learning activities and exercises. Contact us to meet with an Instructional Design Consultant.