Degree Learning Objectives
Minerva expects all undergraduate students to meet the following Degree Learning Objectives (DLOs). These DLOs are introduced in the first-year Cornerstone courses and consist of “habits of mind” and “foundational concepts,” which are threaded and assessed throughout the four years of study. A habit of mind is a mental skill that comes to be triggered automatically with practice; a foundational concept is fundamental knowledge that is broadly applicable, which typically does require deliberation. To be included, the habit of mind or foundational concept (HC) must:
- be derived from an aspect of one of the four core competencies noted below;
- lead students to be able to do something useful in ordinary life after graduation (specialized knowledge comes later in the curriculum);
- be broadly applicable, as indicated by the fact that it is used in courses offered in at least two of Minerva’s colleges;
- be justified either by empirical findings, proofs, or well-established best practices—particularly those that support functioning ethically in a global context; and
- lead to specific behaviors that can be evaluated with rubrics; the HC cannot be so general or vague that it cannot be systematically and reliably evaluated.
Each of the following four core competencies has been broken down into more specific aspects, and each of these aspects in turn includes a set of habits of mind and foundational concepts.
- Identify how prior experiences and expectations affect inferences drawn from different forms of communication, and react accordingly.
- Situate a work in its relevant context (e.g., historical, disciplinary, cultural).
- Actively and critically engage with texts and other forms of communication.
- Evaluate whether hypotheses are based on plausible premises or assumptions.
- Evaluate whether hypotheses lead to testable predictions.
- Use estimation and approximation techniques appropriately.
- Identify and appropriately structure the information needed to support an argument effectively.
- Distinguish between categories and types of information to determine source quality.
- Analyze and apply deductive reasoning.
- Analyze and apply inductive reasoning.
- Identify and correct logical fallacies.
- Calculate and interpret descriptive statistics appropriately.
- Apply and interpret fundamental concepts of probability, including conditional and bayesian probabilities.
- Identify different types of distributions and make inferences based on samples from distributions appropriately.
- Apply and interpret confidence intervals.
- Apply and interpret measures of correlation; distinguish correlation and causation.
- Apply and interpret regression.
- Apply, interpret, and distinguish practical and statistical significance.
- Analyze the relations among interacting motivating factors that shape behavior.
- Identify and evaluate underlying goals and the values on which they are based, as well as the guiding principles that determine how an individual or group will try to attain these goals.
- Consider different types of costs and benefits for all stakeholders.
- Identify and explain how biases result from psychological mechanisms or use of heuristics.
- Identify methods to mitigate the effect of biases and determine when it is appropriate to do so.
- Calculate expected utilities to analyze decisions in the presence of risk.
- Apply and interpret decision trees to explore the consequences of alternative choices.
- Characterize the nature of the problem.
- Organize problems into tractable components and design solutions.
- Identify and evaluate whether threre are suitable existing solutions to a provlem or whether a creative new solution is required.
- Identify and classify the relevant variables of system, problem, or model.
- Apply and evaluate game-theoretic models.
- Evaluate the link between hypothesis-driven research and the theories or observations that motivate it.
- Interpret, analyze, and create data visualizations.
- Recognize how models can be used to explain a set of data and generate new predictions.
Applying research methods
- Design and interpret observational studies.
- Design and interpret experimental studies.
- Design and interpret case studies.
- Design and interpret primary research performed as interviews or surveys (individually or in groups).
- Evaluate and incorporate replicability in empirical study designs.
- Identify and evaluate appropriate control groups for empirical study designs.
- Design effective sampling methods and evaluate the interpretation of results accordingly.
- Evaluate and use effective strategies to learn or teach specific types of material.
- Use analogies in problem solving appropriately.
- Identify and apply constraint satisfaction as a way to solve problems.
- Identify when to use heuristics and when to avoid them.
- Apply algorithmic thinking strategies to solve problems and effectively implement working code.
- Evaluate and apply optimization techniques appropriately.
- Apply iterative design thinking to conceive and refine products or solutions.
- Follow established guidelines to present yourself and your work products professionally.
- Formulate a well-defined thesis.
- Effectively organize communications.
- Communicate with a clear and precise style.
- Understand and use connotations, tone, and style.
- Tailor oral and written work by considering the situation and perspective of the people receiving it.
Using nonverbal communication
- Describe, analyze, and organize characteristics of communicative and expressive mediums at the level of form and structure.
- Interpret, evaluate, and utilize nonverbal communication.
- Apply principles of perception and cognition in oral and multimedia presentations and in design.
- Identify, analyze, and organize characteristics to infer possible meanings in a multimedia work.
Interacting with complex systems
- Analyze and apply decompositions of complex systems into constituent parts.
- Describe interactions among events or characteristics of a system at different levels of analysis to generate explanations of phenomena.
- Identify emergent properties of complex systems and discern their causes.
- Identify ways that multiple causes interact to produce complex effects.
- Analyze how network structure affects interactions within a network.
- Recognize the role of attractors and sensitivity to varying conditions in the behavior of complex systems.
Negotiating and persuading
- Use a structured approach to negotiation to reach desired objectives.
- Use choice architecture to influence other people’s decisions.
- Analyze how incentives, reinforcement, and punishment alter behavior and utilize them appropriately.
- Recognize and use appropriate cognitive tools to persuade.
- Recognize and use appropriate emotional tools of persuasion.
- Present views and work with an appropriate level of confidence.
Working with others
- Apply principles of effective leadership.
- Recognize how to influence group interactions by exerting different types of power.
- Recognize the strengths and weaknesses of a position, and develop a plan to achieve your goals accordingly.
- Identify and utilize people’s different skills, abilities, traits, attitudes, and beliefs.
- Identify and mitigate conformity in group settings.
- Identify and monitor your strengths and weaknesses; mitigate behaviors and habits that impair effective performance.
- Use emotional intelligence to interact effectively.
- Follow through on commitments, be proactive, and take responsibility.
Resolving ethical problems
- Identify ethical problems, framing them in a way that helps to resolve them.
- Resolve conflicts among competing ethical claims and act in a way that best satisfies relevant ethical considerations.
Program Learning Objectives
In addition to the Degree Learning Objectives, students are expected to master field-specific Program Learning Objectives.
College of Arts and Humanities
- Understand and apply levels of analysis in Arts and Humanities
- Master multimodal communications
- Understand and apply principles of human creativity and emotional expression
- Understand and apply principles of philosophy and ethics
- Understand and apply principles and practices of historical analysis
College of Computational Sciences
- Master inductive and deductive reasoning
- Design, develop and use formal and computational models to solve problems
- Evaluate and analyze data and information
- Design, develop and use decision-support tools
- Think algorithmically and create algorithms to solve problems
- Understand and apply essential descriptive and inferential statistics
College of Natural Sciences
- Analyze scientific claims
- Characterize the predictive value of a scientific claim
- Grasp and utilize methods of ideation for problems requiring natural science expertise
- Utilize natural sciences in design of technological solutions
- Understand and apply research design and the scientific method
College of Social Sciences
- Understand and apply levels of analysis in the Social Sciences
- Master complex systems analysis
- Understand and apply principles of individual human behavior
- Understand and apply principles of human group behavior
- Understand and apply principles and practices of cultural variation, contemporary and historical
College of Business
- Evaluate, analyze and model data and information
- Design, develop and use decision-making tools
- Understand and engage in effective group dynamics
- Understand and apply the essential concepts underlying finance
- Understand and apply the essential concepts underlying marketing
Results of Assessments
MSKGI uses both internal and external assessments to measure student learning.
Analyses of the Core Competencies
The habits of mind and foundational concepts derived from Minerva’s core competencies are introduced in the first-year Cornerstone courses. These outcomes continue to be assessed over the next three years in every Minerva course. This results in continuous evaluation of student performance on MSKGI’s undergraduate degree learning outcomes. Outcome data are analyzed at the end of each year. The Benchmark is set at a benchmark of 3.0 (Knowledge) on the rubric scale of 1-5.