Assessment Process

design process notes

Who We Are

The Visual Media Design department, formerly known as Graphic Communications Department and Multimedia Studies Program, provide career and technical education to individuals pursuing degrees or certificates in the visual and interactive design, digital media art, digital illustration, digital print production and interactive production professions. Our coursework prepares students for a range of careers, in areas as diverse as graphic design, interactive game design, interactive web development, illustration, all aspects of publishing, marketing, advertising and social media including mobile applications, which are fast-growing industries in the Bay Area.


Current SLO Activities

For the last year, we have been working diligently on the merger of the Graphic Communications Department and the Multimedia Studies Program to become the Visual Media Design (VMD) department. This merger was part of an effort to facilitate planning and collaboration between two related areas of study that served the same student population. In planning for this merger, data was collected on local labor markets and academic transfer policies, and working professionals were consulted in a number of industry advisory sessions. In a project funded through the Perkins Student Success Initiative, data from almost 600 current and alumni students was collected via surveys and focus groups. Merging these two into one department has allowed us to focus our efforts more clearly on Programatic and Course SLOs as we combine and reorganize classes to reflect current industry demands.

Program Assessments

As part of the merger of Graphic Communications and Multimedia Studies, we have spent the last year updating and restructuring our degree and certificate offerings. Our program-level objectives are assessed directly through a review of student portfolios undertaken by all the full-time faculty at the end of each Spring semester. This is supplemented with data from student surveys, focus groups, industry advisory sessions and alumni outreach. We conducted our first PSLO assessment in Spring 2013, which gave us the opportunity to test some of the newly rewritten PSLOs. It suggested department needs that will be reflected in our upcoming Program Review. The assessment findings affirmed the need for many of the curricular changes made in the newly revised certificates and gave us valuable insights for rewriting many outlines in the coming year.

The review of student portfolios in particular, was revealing. It became apparent that changes to the process/deliverables and guidelines for content for projects would strengthen the outcomes and better prepare students for employment or transfer. At our Fall 13 Flex Day we introduced a more structured framework for project-based work. We plan to refine this through discussion during the semester and present final guidelines for adoption in Spring.

We plan to refine our portfolio assessment process but we found the process to be especially valuable in bringing all the FT faculty together to review and discuss the content and methodology of our student projects and capstone experiences.

Course Assessments

Every course in our department engages in SLO assessment in each academic semester. Early on we established that each SLO would be measured using direct assessment tools providing numerical data that could be easily evaluated and compared. Many of our instructors supplement these direct assessments with student surveys and questionnaires.

In addition to reporting our results to CCSF, we designed an internal SLO reporting form that allows us to collect and review assessments for each semester. These forms aggregate the numerical data and also allow our instructors to reflect on their findings and make suggestions about course improvements. This data is published on our website, and discussed with all instructors at Flex Day events. These discussions allow us to share our findings, answer questions and to refine our process.

Positive Results

Getting this all off the ground has been a lot of work, but our department can point to a number of positive results that justify the effort. First and foremost is the dialogue that has been created among all our instructors about the effectiveness of our courses and programs: many course-level improvements have been on the table at Flex Day and in informal conversations that take place throughout the semester. In Fall 2013, the department is also sponsoring bi-weekly SLO drop-in sessions that provide faculty with an opportunity to discuss SLO process and results. Looking forward, we hope to have all our regular courses at level five [closed loop] by the end of Spring 2014


How We Are Doing Our SLO Work

The full-time members of the department meet every two weeks to develop and discuss the student learning outcomes in individual courses, programs, certificates and degrees. Part-time instructors are provided updates via a Yahoo Group and during Flex Day events that occur each semester.

Traditionally, the Graphic Communications Department has used capstone courses, such as internships, portfolio and collaborative project-based classes, to assess student-learning outcomes for individual certificates and degrees. Assessments of students in individual coursework has been done through culminating exercises and hands-on projects in each class. Prerequisites are enforced for each level of coursework so if a student is not gaining the required skills and knowledge to move on to the next level class, the department becomes aware of issues with the course sequencing and reworks the content and delivery to make the coursework properly align.

Because Graphic Communications reflects rapidly evolving industries, we use student and employer surveys to assess our success in aligning our student outcomes with the needs of the various industries. We refine and change courses, certificates and degrees to meet modern and updated understanding of the topics we teach as well as the needs of the community.

We use our assessment methods to gather data on and continually review our effectiveness at achieving the student learning outcomes in all areas. When we receive feedback that we are not achieving our stated goals, we revised our course outlines or delivery and advising and teaching strategies to effectively drive departmental achievement in these areas.