In our most recent Colleges Online Workgroup, we examined standard 2 of the Quality Matters rubric – learning objectives. One of the discussion we had was the use of jargon in a learning objective – is it appropriate or not? Some feel jargon can confuse a student and may lead to misinterpretation of the objective, while others feel that using jargon in the right context is a necessary step toward becoming an expert in a field, and so by using it in a learning objective, we are modeling appropriate and effective use for students. QM suggests not using jargon, but I have come across some instances where jargon is the best word for a situation.
Another standard we discussed, which I (full disclosure) currently wouldn’t pass is “the relationship between learning objectives or competencies and course activities is clearly stated.” I have my learning objectives, and I have my problem sets, but I don’t take the time to always link my activity questions with each objective. Overall, my problem set covers the entire list of module learning objectives, but I think relying on that approach is cheating a little. As I edit my course in the future, I will need to be more transparent about how the problem set ties to my objectives.
I think, in general, the idea of using learning objectives in courses has become second nature for me, since I have been working on the skill for almost a decade. It is important to recognize, though, that not every faculty member has experience with writing objectives, and the QM annotations on standard 2 could really help guide the process for those new to backward design.