Categories
Mason Core

Student Learning Outcomes

Foundation
Written Communication (Lower)
1. Students are able to analyze and respond to a range of rhetorical situations with increased awareness of the purposes, audiences, and contexts of writing. They are able to identify appropriate rhetorical strategies and apply them in their own writing.
2. Students develop strategies for anticipating and using audience response as they engage in and reflect upon a recursive writing process that includes exploration, inquiry, and invention, as well as drafting, organizing, revising, peer-reviewing, and editing.
3. Students gain emerging college-level proficiency in critically reading and writing nonfiction genres to develop analysis, reflection, exposition, argumentation, and research skills.
4. Students are able to use research strategies for topic exploration and refining research questions; locate, select, evaluate, synthesize, and document sources; and incorporate outside facts, perspectives, and ideas in their writing to complicate and extend their own ideas. They are able to employ appropriate technologies and resources to support their reading, thinking, researching, and writing.
5. Students develop knowledge of linguistic structures and writing conventions through critical reading and practice (writing and revision). They understand why writing conventions vary based on genre and audience and apply this knowledge by composing different types of texts.
Oral Communication
1. Students will demonstrate understanding of and proficiency in constructing and delivering multiple message types.
2. Students will understand and practice effective elements of ethical verbal and nonverbal communication.
3. Students will develop analytical skills and critical listening skills.
4. Students will understand the influence of culture in communication and will know how to cope with cultural differences when presenting information to an audience.
5. Students develop the ability to use oral communication as a way of thinking and learning, as well as sharing ideas.
Quantitative Reasoning
1. Students are able to interpret quantitative information (i.e., formulas, graphs, tables, models, and schematics) and draw inferences from them.
2. Given a quantitative problem, students are able to formulate the problem quantitatively and use appropriate arithmetical, algebraic, and/or statistical methods to solve the problem.
3. Students are able to evaluate logical arguments using quantitative reasoning.
4. Students are able to communicate and present quantitative results effectively.
Information Technology / Computing
1. Students will understand the principles of information storage, exchange, security, and privacy and be aware of related ethical issues.
2. Students will become critical consumers of digital information; they will be capable of selecting and evaluating appropriate, relevant, and trustworthy sources of information.
3. Students can use appropriate information and computing technologies to organize and analyze information and use it to guide decision-making.
4. Students will be able to choose and apply appropriate algorithmic methods to solve a problem.
Exploration
Arts

Courses in the Arts category must meet the first learning outcome and a minimum of two of the remaining learning outcomes. How well the outcomes are met is much more important than the number of outcomes covered by the course. Upon completing an Arts course, students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between artistic process, and a work’s underlying concept, and where appropriate, contexts associated with the work.
2. Identify and analyze the formal elements of a particular art form using vocabulary and critique appropriate to that form.
3. Analyze cultural productions using standards appropriate to the form, as well as the works cultural significance and context.
4. Analyze and interpret the content of material or performance culture through its social, historical, and personal contexts.
5. Engage in generative artistic processes, including conception, creation, and ongoing critical analysis.
Literature

Courses in the Literature category must meet a minimum of three learning outcomes. How well the outcomes are met is much more important than the number of outcomes covered by the course. Upon completing the Literature category, students will be able to:

1. Students will be able to read for comprehension, detail, and nuance.
2. Identify the specific literary qualities of language as employed in the texts they read.
3. Analyze the ways specific literary devices contribute to the meaning of a text.
4. Identify and evaluate the contribution of the social, political, historical, and cultural contexts in which a literary text is produced.
5. Evaluate a critical argument in others’ writing as well as one’s own.
Social & Behavioral Science
1. Explain how individuals, groups or institutions are influenced by contextual factors;
2. Demonstrate awareness of changes in social and cultural constructs;
3. Use appropriate methods and resources to apply social and behavioral science concepts, terminology, principles and theories in the analysis of significant human issues, past or present.
Natural Science
1. Understand how scientific inquiry is based on investigation of evidence from the natural world, and that scientific knowledge and understanding: a. evolves based on new evidence b. differs from personal and cultural beliefs
2. Recognize the scope and limits of science.
3. Recognize and articulate the relationship between the natural sciences and society and the application of science to societal challenges (e.g., health, conservation, sustainability, energy, natural disasters, etc.).
4. Evaluate scientific information (e.g., distinguish primary and secondary sources, assess credibility and validity of information).
5. Participate in scientific inquiry and communicate the elements of the process, including: a. Making careful and systematic observations b. Developing and testing a hypothesis c. Analyzing evidence d. Interpreting results
Global History
1. Identify major chronological developments in global history from the pre-modern period (before 1400 CE) to the present.
2. Communicate a historical argument through writing, speech, and/or digital media using a variety of primary and secondary sources.
3. Apply historical knowledge and historical thinking to contemporary global issues.
Global Contexts (beginning Fall 2024)
1. Identify and articulate one’s own values and how those values influence their interactions and relationships with others, both locally and globally.
2. Demonstrate understanding of how the patterns and processes of globalization make visible the interconnections and differences among and within contemporary global societies.
3. Demonstrate the development of intercultural competencies.
4. Explore individual and collective responsibilities within a global society through analytical, practical, or creative responses to problems or issues, using resources appropriate to the field.
Just Societies (beginning Fall 2024)

Courses with a Just Societies flag must meet both of these outcomes, in addition to other required course outcomes related to the primary Mason Core Exploration category. Upon completing a Just Societies course, students will be able to demonstrate the following two competencies:

1. Define key terms related to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion as related to this course’s field/discipline and use them to engage meaningfully with peers about course issues.
2. Articulate obstacles to justice and equity, and strategies for addressing them, in response to local, national, and/or global issues in the field/discipline.
Integration
Mason Apex (beginning Fall 2024)

(Formerly Capstone and Synthesis)  

1. Integrate skills, abilities, theories, or methodologies gained across a Mason student’s undergraduate education to explore complex issues in original ways.  

2. Communicate effectively the results of the student’s work with awareness of audience, purpose, and context using an appropriate modality (for example: written, oral, visual, material, embodied, multimodal).   (Rubric in development)

Capstone and Synthesis (prior to Fall 2024)
Capstone: (Learning outcomes are defined by each degree program)
Capstone Rubric (PDF)

Synthesis:

1. Communicate effectively in both oral and written forms, applying appropriate rhetorical standards (e.g., audience adaptation, language, argument, organization, evidence, etc.)

2. Using perspectives from two or more disciplines, connect issues in a given field to wider intellectual, community or societal concerns

3. Apply critical thinking skills to: a. Evaluate the quality, credibility and limitations of an argument or a solution using appropriate evidence or resources, OR, b. Judge the quality or value of an idea, work, or principle based on appropriate analytics and standards

Writing-Intensive

Writing-intensive courses are a university requirement and have recently developed the following learning outcomes, which are in the process of implementation. Course instructors, who represent all departments across the institution, select one of the following three outcomes:

1) Writing-to-Learn;

2) Writing-to-Communicate;

3) Writing-as-a-Process.

For more information about the requirements of Writing-intensive courses and the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) Program, please visit their webpage here: https://wac.gmu.edu/

1. Writing-to-Learn: students will use informal or formal writing in ways that deepen their awareness of the field of study and its subject matter.
2. Writing-to-Communicate: students will compose one or more written genres specific to the field of study in order to communicate key ideas tailored to specific audiences and purposes; genres may be academic, public, or professional.
3. Writing-as-a-Process: students will draft and revise written works based on feedback they receive from instructors and peers, using strategies appropriate to the genre, audience, and purpose.
Written Communication (Upper)
1. Students are able to analyze and respond to a range of rhetorical situations with increased awareness of the purposes, audiences, and contexts of writing. They are able
to identify appropriate rhetorical strategies and apply them in their own writing.
2. Students develop strategies for anticipating and using audience response as they engage in and reflect upon a recursive writing process that includes exploration, inquiry, and invention, as well as drafting, organizing, revising, peer-reviewing, and editing.
3. Students gain emerging college-level proficiency in critically reading and writing nonfiction genres to develop analysis, reflection, exposition, argumentation, and research skills.
4. Students are able to use research strategies for topic exploration and refining research questions; locate, select, evaluate, synthesize, and document sources; and incorporate outside facts, perspectives, and ideas in their writing to complicate and extend their own ideas. They are able to employ appropriate technologies and resources to support their reading, thinking, researching, and writing.
5. Students develop knowledge of linguistic structures and writing conventions through critical reading and practice (writing and revision). They understand why writing
conventions vary based on genre and audience and apply this knowledge by composing different types of texts.