Assessing Written Communication, Information Literacy and Oral Communication in a Senior Mathematics and Computer Science Capstone

Author

Maria Zack

Professor and Chair, Mathematical, Information, and Computer Sciences

Point Loma Nazarene University

Citation

Zack, M. (2014). Assessing Written Communication, Information Literacy and Oral Communication in a Senior Mathematics and Computer Science Capstone. Point Loma Nazarene University.

Description

In this two-part assignment, students are asked to prepare an oral presentation and write a paper that integrates their knowledge from their course of study in computer science, computer information systems or mathematics.  The basis for these talks and papers is generally the student’s experience working on a year-long research project, a service learning project or an internship—at least one of which is required of all graduates from the department.

Background and Context

This is a two part assignment in the Senior Seminar in Mathematics, Computer Science and Computer Information Systems.  Students are asked to prepare an oral presentation and write a paper that integrates their knowledge from their course of study: Computer Science, Computer Information Systems or Mathematics.  The basis for these talks and papers is generally each student’s experience working on a year-long research project, a year-long service learning project or an internship (all graduates from our department must complete at least one of these three activities).

DQP proficiencies assessed include: Written communication, oral communication, and information literacy.  The rubrics used by the department have been attached. These have been developed over a number of years through a process of trial and error.  It is possible to map the Written Report and Oral Presentation rubrics to the AAC&U Value Rubrics of the same name.  If you would like further details about this, please contact the author.

Reflections

Each student is assigned an advisor with whom they meet regularly to work on preparing the paper and the oral report. The students are given instructions about the necessary components in the paper and the oral presentation and they are also given the rubric before they begin work. Because faculty juries assess both the oral presentation and the paper, all are familiar with the rubrics and can assist students in understanding the expectations. These rubrics have been refined over many years based on what has been learned by the faculty through the process of mentoring students and scoring student work.

This assignment could easily be applied in a wide variety of STEM disciplines.  It is a useful way to assess our students’ ability to communicate orally and in writing in ways that are appropriate for professionals in technical disciplines.


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