ERIC Number: ED449750
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Jan
Reference Count: N/A
Assessment of the General Education Cluster Course Experience: A Pilot Program of the College of Letters and Science. Year One of a Five Year Study: The Student Perspective, the Graduate Student Instructor Perspective, the Faculty Perspective.
California Univ., Los Angeles. College of Letters and Science.
This report presents findings from an assessment of the four cluster courses offered during the 1998-1999 academic year at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). These courses represented an innovative approach to education for freshmen. During academic year 1998-1999, nearly 500 UCLA freshmen enrolled in the clusters, which shared a broad interdisciplinary theme. The cluster courses were team taught and used activities aimed at building academic community. The courses were evaluated though surveys of 465 and 444 students, interviews with 29 students who did not continue in the cluster courses in the second semester, focus groups attended by 16 teaching assistants, and an informal faculty assessment through staff meetings. The cluster courses attracted the best prepared freshmen and exposed them to a variety of "best practices" in undergraduate education. Students experienced their cluster workloads as heavy, but thought that their skills improved as a result of taking the cluster course. Teaching assistants thought that they had to spend more time preparing for cluster classes, but that the benefits outweighed the advantages, especially through opportunities to develop skills and knowledge. Faculty recognized many challenges in teaching cluster courses, but they believed in the value of interdisciplinary general education for freshmen students. (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: California Univ., Los Angeles. College of Letters and Science.