Faculty-led Inquiry into Reflective and Scholarly Teaching (FIRST)


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This benchmark portfolio is an examination of the structure of Global Environmental Issues (GEOG 181) and how the course materials facilitate student learning. The primary goal of this course is to investigate the nature of – and connections among - urgent global environmental issues in the context of geographic concepts and methods. As a large survey course, there are varied assessments that are punctuated with three summative exams. This portfolio assesses the current state of student learning prior to the addition of recitation sections. In doing so, it assesses exam performance over the course of the semester and by student demographics with an eye towards equity gaps in achievement. Further, it provides a qualitative assessment of student feedback with respect to instruction and assessment. My analysis supports the coming addition of recitation sections and identifies a gap in achievement among first-generation college students and their peers. Unsurprisingly, it also suggests that in-class attendance is associated with better performance in the course. In response to this analysis, I plan to rebalance learning and assessment to emphasize the importance of additional case studies and small group work that will be facilitated in the new recitation sections. I will also take additional care in the initial weeks of the semester to support new and incoming students that may be unfamiliar with learning in a university setting.