Liberal learning outcomes form the most important part of the mission statements of different universities. Different liberal learning outcomes are applied in the University of Charleston, but the most important outcomes include communication, critical thinking, and ethical practice outcomes. In accomplishing the University’s mission statement, I took the three paths of asymmetrical, obscure, and disordered to satisfy communication, critical thinking, and ethical practice outcomes. Though various differences can be identified between the three paths, various similarities also exist between the three paths.
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To fulfill the communication liberal learning outcomes, I used the nontraditional or asymmetrical path. The path I took to fulfill the communication liberal learning outcomes concentrated on the writing outcomes (Laff, p. 145). Some advanced high school courses enabled me to meet the beginning level outcomes. Essentially, I met the mid-level outcomes during my freshman year in college and my senior year enabled me to meet my advanced level outcomes. Under the traditional path, all three-level outcomes were supposed to be met simultaneously in a student’s major course. The fact that I did not meet them in my major makes the path that I took nontraditionally. Meeting my mid-level outcomes makes the least successful activity that I engaged in during the whole process. This is because I lacked the sufficient writing instruction required for meeting the mid-level liberal writing outcomes. I achieved success in the writing outcomes in my advanced high school writing courses. This is because the vocabulary expansion exercises and extensive reading comprehensions provided me with the needed writing skills required to meet the beginning level outcomes.
The fact that the major components of the traditional path I took to achieve the critical thinking outcomes were obscure in nature brings in the similarity between this traditional path and the nontraditional path that I took to fulfill the communication outcomes. The beginning level outcomes were met in my freshman year, my junior and sophomore years marked the meeting of the mid-level outcomes, while my senior and junior years marked the meeting of my advanced level outcomes. The obscure nature of the components of the traditional path was not as a result of the critical thinking techniques used but as a result of the fact that the professor was not open enough when teaching the critical thinking techniques (Wehlburg, p. 96). During my beginning level, I was never informed that I was learning different critical thinking skills. This limited my exploration of the many critical thinking skills at my disposal, hence restraining my critical thinking capacity. The most successful activity during my critical thinking learning process includes an English literature research paper that I had to write. This required me to conduct a lot of research to ensure that all that I wrote was not only based on fiction but also facts. To achieve this, I was required to apply all the critical thinking components at my disposal.
To achieve the ethical liberal learning outcomes, I embarked on a disordered path. This path was very different from the other two previous paths because the previous paths were ordered while this path was disordered. Instead of achieving my beginning-level outcome first, I achieved my mid-level outcome first. During my junior years in high school, I took an American History class that met the mid-level ethical practice outcomes. This formed the least successful activity in the ethical practice learning process, as minimal ethical components were taught because the class concentrated more on American history than ethics. I achieved my beginning ethical practice outcomes level later during my freshman year in college. This experience has lain dormant until this semester. This is because this is the semester that I have been properly taught about the different components of ethical practice. This clearly translates to my achievement of the advanced level of ethics practice outcomes. Reading the book “Thinking Critically about Ethical Issues,” forms the most successful activity in ethical practice because it will enable me to apply the various techniques used to achieve ethical practice through linking real life situations with the various ethical techniques contained in the book (Ruggiero, p. 10).
In conclusion, the paths that I took to achieve the communications, critical thinking and ethical practice liberal learning outcomes were asymmetrical, obscure and disordered. These paths were similar in some cases and different in other cases but the most important thing about them is that they have enabled me to achieve the required levels of the various components of the liberal learning outcomes. I believe that the experience I have acquired from them has enabled me to become an all-rounded person.
- Laff, Ned S. Identity, Learning, and the Liberal Arts. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2005. Print.
- Ruggiero, Vincent R. Thinking Critically About Ethical Issues. Dubuque: McGraw-Hill, 2011. Print.
- Wehlburg, Catherine. Integrated General Education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010. Print.