Epistemological Capability

Knowledge Construction

Proactively and critically seek, analyze, construct, and create knowledge through a variety of modalities, accommodating the limits, ambiguities, uncertainties, and unknowns inherent in the pursuit of knowledge.

Initial
Learners may passively accept knowledge as right or wrong and rely on authority figures as their source for knowledge and judgment.
Emerging
Learners demonstrate that they have begun to realize the uncertainty of knowledge.
Developing
Learners acknowledge multiple perspectives, but are not yet able to effectively discriminate among them.
Proficient
Learners actively construct knowledge, weighing and interpreting judgments and committing to stances in the face of uncertainty.

The activities undertaken in my classes are designed to encourage learners to develop their personal epistemologies by valuing learners’ voices and contributions. This learning outcome and rubric are largely drawn from the literature on self-authorship, the Council of Ontario Universities rubrics, and Barrie’s graduate attributes.

The epistemological dimension of development refers to how people use assumptions about the nature, limits, and certainty of knowledge to decide what to believe (Kitchener, 1983; Perry, 1970). Self-authored persons assume knowledge is uncertain and judged in light of evidence relevant to the context; they actively construct, evaluate, and interpret judgments to develop their internal belief systems (Baxter Magolda, 2001; Kegan, 1994). Thus the cognitive maturity called for in integrating disparate information to make decisions requires a self-authored belief system (Baxter Magolda, 2004c).

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Epistemological

  1. External Formulas. View knowledge as certain or partially certain, yielding reliance on authority as source of knowledge; lack of internal basis for evaluating knowledge claims results in externally defined beliefs.
  2. Crossroads. Evolving awareness and acceptance of uncertainty and multiple perspectives; shift from accepting authority’s knowledge claims to personal processes for adopting knowledge claims; recognize need to take responsibility for choosing beliefs.
  3. Self-authorship. View knowledge as contextual; develop an internal belief system via constructing, evaluating, and interpreting judgments in light of available evidence and frames of reference.

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Awareness of the Limits of Knowledge

  1. At the Baccalaureate / Bachelor’s degree level, students demonstrate: An understanding of the limits to their own knowledge and how this might influence their analyses and interpretations.
  2. At the Baccalaureate / Honours Bachelor’s degree level, students demonstrate: An understanding of the limits to their own knowledge and ability, and an appreciation of the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits to knowledge and how this might influence analyses and interpretations.
  3. At the Master’s degree level, students demonstrate: Cognizance of the complexity of knowledge and of the potential contributions of other interpretations, methods, and disciplines.
  4. At the Doctoral degree level, students demonstrate: An appreciation of the limitations of one’s own work and discipline, of the complexity of knowledge, and of the potential contributions of other interpretations, methods, and disciplines.

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Scholarship: An attitude or stance towards knowledge

Graduates of the university will have a scholarly attitude to knowledge and understanding. As scholars, the university’s graduates will be leaders in the production of new knowledge and understanding through inquiry, critique and synthesis. They will be able to apply their knowledge to solve consequential problems and communicate their knowledge confidently and effectively.

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Research and inquiry

Graduates of the university will be able to create new knowledge and understanding through the process of research and inquiry.

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Problem-Solving and Innovation

Adapt to the challenges of new and novel problems that require innovation and risk.

Initial
Learners have demonstrated the capability of solving familiar problems and routine ways of solving them.
Emerging
Learners have become more at ease with unfamiliar problems and with having to create their own ways of solving them.
Developing
Learners can identify novel, real-world problems.
Proficient
Learners seek opportunities to challenge themselves through working with real-world problems and may even prefer new and novel problems.

The activities undertaken in my classes are designed to encourage this development through creating a safe, collaborative space in which learners can build the confidence to take risks and make mistakes. This learning outcome and rubric are drawn from the ELLI’s Creativity dimension and the Taking Risks and Solving Problems dimensions of the Creative Thinking VALUE Rubric.

Creativity

Those learners who score highly on this dimension are able to look at things in different ways. They like playing with ideas and taking different perspectives, even when they don’t quite know where their trains of thought are leading. They are receptive to hunches and inklings that bubble up into their minds, and make use of imagination, visual imagery and pictures and diagrams in their learning. They understand that learning often needs playfulness as well as purposeful, systematic thinking. The opposite pole is literalness or rule boundness. These learners tend to be less imaginative. They prefer clear-cut information and tried-and-tested ways of looking at things, and they feel safer when they know how they are meant to proceed. They function well in routine problem-solving situations, but are more at sea when greater creativity is required.

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Taking Risks

May include personal risk (fear of embarrassment or rejection) or risk of failure in successfully completing assignment, i.e. going beyond original parameters of assignment, introducing new materials and forms, tackling controversial topics, advocating unpopular ideas or solutions.

  1. Stays strictly within the guidelines of the assignment.
  2. Considers new directions or approaches without going beyond the guidelines of the assignment.
  3. Incorporates new directions or approaches to the assignment in the final product.
  4. Actively seeks out and follows through on untested and potentially risky directions or approaches to the assignment in the final product.

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Solving Problems

  1. Only a single approach is considered and is used to solve the problem.
  2. Considers and rejects less acceptable approaches to solving problem.
  3. Having selected from among alternatives, develops a logical, consistent plan to solve the problem.
  4. Not only develops a logical, consistent plan to solve problem, but recognizes consequences of solution and can articulate reason for choosing solution.

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Multiple Perspectives

Proactively appreciate and integrate knowledge from a variety of modes of knowing and transmitting knowledge and from multiple, diverse, and interdisciplinary values and perspectives.

Initial
Learners may privilege their own and their own culture’s, discipline’s, and theoretical orientation’s values and perspectives. They may be unaware of or devalue the contributions of non-dominant ways of knowing and transmitting knowledge.
Emerging
Learners demonstrate that they have become open to considering other ways of knowing.
Developing
Learners have become curious about and have come to appreciate other ways of knowing.
Proficient
Learners have integrated new perspectives into their personal epistemologies.

I place particular focus on integrating indigenous cultural products such as art, technology, music, and storytelling and indigenous ways of knowing about conservation and sustainability. This learning outcome and rubric are woven together from language about cognitive development in the Global Perspectives Inventory, language about personal epistemology from the literature on self-authorship, and the Perspective Taking dimension of the Global Learning VALUE Rubric.

Because my courses focus on interdisciplinarity, I have included diverse disciplinary perspectives in addition to cultural perspectives. And because I emphasize the importance of indigenous knowledge and expressive arts, I give particular attention to non-dominant ways of knowing and transmitting knowledge.

Cognitive development is centered on one’s knowledge and understanding of what is true and important to know. It includes viewing knowledge and knowing with greater complexity and taking into account multiple cultural perspectives.

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The epistemological dimension of development refers to how people use assumptions about the nature, limits, and certainty of knowledge to decide what to believe (Kitchener, 1983; Perry, 1970). Self-authored persons assume knowledge is uncertain and judged in light of evidence relevant to the context; they actively construct, evaluate, and interpret judgments to develop their internal belief systems (Baxter Magolda, 2001; Kegan, 1994). Thus the cognitive maturity called for in integrating disparate information to make decisions requires a self-authored belief system (Baxter Magolda, 2004c).

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Perspective Taking

  1. Identifies multiple perspectives while maintaining a value preference for own positioning (such as cultural, disciplinary, and ethical).
  2. Identifies and explains multiple perspectives (such as cultural, disciplinary, and ethical) when exploring subjects within natural and human systems.
  3. Synthesizes other perspectives (such as cultural, disciplinary, and ethical) when investigating subjects within natural and human systems.
  4. Evaluates and applies diverse perspectives to complex subjects within natural and human systems in the face of multiple and even conflicting positions (i.e. cultural, disciplinary, and ethical.)

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Interdisciplinarity and Coherence

Create coherence by integrating new learning with one’s previous learning and experience and integrating what is learned across disciplines.

Initial
Learners approach knowledge from an atomistic perspective. They may not yet draw ties between what they are learning and their personal experience, or among different pieces of knowledge.
Emerging
When prompted to do so, learners make basic connections between learning and their personal experience and among different pieces of knowledge.
Developing
Learners have begun to draw ties among pieces of knowledge not only within their disciplines, but across disciplines.
Proficient
Learners proactively seek coherence through integrating their new learning with their past experiences and integrating what is learned across knowledge domains.

The activities undertaken in my classes are designed to encourage learners to develop coherence and interdisciplinarity through bringing together learners from different disciplines and placing an emphasis on personal experience and interdisciplinary learning.

This learning outcome and rubric are woven together from the ELLI’s Meaning-making dimension and the Connections to Experience and Connections to Discipline dimensions of the Integrative Learning VALUE Rubric.

Meaning-making

Some learners are on the lookout for links between what they are learning and what they already know. They get pleasure from seeing how things ‘fit together’. They like it when they can make sense of new things in terms of their own experience, and when they can see how learning relates to their own concerns. Their questions reflect this orientation towards coherence. They are interested in the big picture and how the new learning fits within it. They like to learn about what really matters to them. The opposite pole is fragmentation. Some learners are more likely to approach learning situations piecemeal, and to respond to them on their own individual merits. They may be more interested in knowing the criteria for successful performance than in looking for joined-up meanings and associations.

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Connections to Experience

Connect relevant experiences with academic knowledge.

  1. Identifies connections between life experiences and those academic texts and ideas perceived as similar and related to own interests.
  2. Compares life experiences and academic knowledge to infer differences, as well as similarities, and acknowledge perspectives other than own.
  3. Effectively selects and develops examples of life experiences, drawn from a variety of contexts (e.g., family life, artistic participation, civic involvement, work experience), to illuminate concepts/ theories/ frameworks of fields of study.
  4. Meaningfully synthesizes connections among experiences outside of the formal classroom (including life experiences and academic experiences such as internships and travel abroad) to deepen understanding of fields of study and to broaden own points of view.

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Connections to Discipline

See (make) connections across disciplines, perspectives.

  1. When prompted, presents examples, facts, or theories from more than one field of study or perspective.
  2. When prompted, connects examples, facts, or theories from more than one field of study or perspective.
  3. Independently connects examples, facts, or theories from more than one field of study or perspective.
  4. Independently creates wholes out of multiple parts (synthesizes) or draws conclusions by combining examples, facts, or theories from more than one field of study or perspective.

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Complexity

Apply knowledge from diverse disciplines and ways of knowing to generate, evaluate, and improve upon solutions that address real-world problems.

Initial
Learners successfully engage with knowledge within the bounds of disciplines and practice applying this knowledge to course assignments.
Emerging
Learners have become aware of and curious about the contributions of other disciplines. They may attempt to address real-world problems, but produce overly simple solutions.
Developing
Learners begin to create connections among disciplines and ways of knowing. They produce solutions that take complexity into account, but may still overlook aspects of the problem.
Proficient
Learners employ their knowledge to address complex real-world problems that are not confined to one disciplinary approach.

The activities undertaken in my classes are designed to encourage learners to develop in this way through embedding learning in real-world relationships and contexts. This learning outcome and rubric are drawn from the Transfer dimension of the Integrative Learning VALUE Rubric and reflect the focus of my classes on real-world applications.

Transfer: adapt and apply skills, abilities, theories, or methodologies gained in one situation to new situations.

  1. Adapts and applies, independently, skills, abilities, theories, or methodologies gained in one situation to new situations to solve difficult problems or explore complex issues in original ways.
  2. Adapts and applies skills, abilities, theories, or methodologies gained in one situation to new situations to solve problems or explore issues.
  3. Uses skills, abilities, theories, or methodologies gained in one situation in a new situation to contribute to understanding of problems or issues.
  4. Uses, in a basic way, skills, abilities, theories, or methodologies gained in one situation in a new situation.

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Technological Mastery

Understand, choose, and apply appropriate technological tools to work more efficiently, gather and analyze information, and communicate with others (one-to-one or one-to-many).

Initial
Learners may use only basic technological tools and feel uncertain when asked to expand their technical know-how.
Emerging
Learners have achieved a degree of mastery over familiar tools and platforms.
Developing
Learners demonstrate that they are willing to try new technological tools and risk making mistakes.
Proficient
Learners use a variety of technological tools with ease and efficiency, choose appropriate tools for the task, and may even modify or create their own tools.

The activities undertaken in my classes are designed to encourage this development through the analysis and use of technology as a tool to seek knowledge and share learning with a global community. This learning outcome and rubric are drawn from our professional experience using technology with learners, as well as our personal and professional experience working with those who exhibit technological mastery, such as hackers. Their attitudes are a special case of Growth Orientation. As Eric Raymond says of becoming a hacker,

You… have to develop a kind of faith in your own learning capacity — a belief that even though you may not know all of what you need to solve a problem, if you tackle just a piece of it and learn from that, you’ll learn enough to solve the next piece — and so on, until you’re done.

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  1. Baxter Magolda, M. B., & King, P. M. (2007). Interview strategies for assessing self-authorship: Constructing conversations to assess meaning making. Journal of College Student Development, 48(5), 491-508.

     

  2. Baxter Magolda, M. (2008). The evolution of self-authorship. In Knowing, Knowledge and Beliefs (pp. 45-64). Springer Netherlands.

     

  3. Council of Ontario Universities. (2011). Ensuring the value of university degrees in Ontario. Retrieved June 20, 2014, from cou.on.ca/publications/reports/

     

  4. Barrie, S. C. (2004). A research-based approach to generic graduate attributes policy.Higher Education Research & Development, 23(3), 261-275.

     

  5. Barrie, S. C. (2004). A research-based approach to generic graduate attributes policy.Higher Education Research & Development, 23(3), 261-275.

     

  6. Deakin Crick, R., Broadfoot, P., & Claxton, G. (2004). Developing an effective lifelong learning inventory: the ELLI project. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 11(3), 247-272.

     

  7. Association of American Colleges and Universities. (2010). VALUE: Valid assessment of learning in undergraduate education. Retrieved from aacu.org/value/rubrics

     

  8. Association of American Colleges and Universities. (2010). VALUE: Valid assessment of learning in undergraduate education. Retrieved from aacu.org/value/rubrics

     

  9. Braskamp, L. A., Braskamp, D. C., Carter Merrill, K., & Engberg, M. E. (2013). Global Perspective Inventory (GPI); Its purpose, construction, potential uses, and psychometric characteristics. Retrieved July 1, 2013, from gpi.central.edu/supportDocs/manual.pdf

     

  10. Baxter Magolda, M. B., & King, P. M. (2007). Interview strategies for assessing self-authorship: Constructing conversations to assess meaning making. Journal of College Student Development, 48(5), 491-508.

     

  11. Association of American Colleges and Universities. (2010). VALUE: Valid assessment of learning in undergraduate education. Retrieved from aacu.org/value/rubrics

     

  12. Deakin Crick, R., Broadfoot, P., & Claxton, G. (2004). Developing an effective lifelong learning inventory: the ELLI project. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 11(3), 247-272.

     

  13. Association of American Colleges and Universities. (2010). VALUE: Valid assessment of learning in undergraduate education. Retrieved from aacu.org/value/rubrics

     

  14. Association of American Colleges and Universities. (2010). VALUE: Valid assessment of learning in undergraduate education. Retrieved from aacu.org/value/rubrics

     

  15. Association of American Colleges and Universities. (2010). VALUE: Valid assessment of learning in undergraduate education. Retrieved from aacu.org/value/rubrics

     

  16. Raymond, E. S. (2001). How to become a hacker. Retrieved from http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/hacker-howto.html