SLO Style Sheet - University of Nevada, Reno

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) Style Sheet
University of Nevada, Reno 2014-15
By the end of the spring semester, 2016, UNR will require that every course listed in the General Catalog has Student
Learning Outcomes explaining what students are expected to know and be able to do. In order to meet this requirement,
every department will need to agree upon SLOs for their courses in the catalog by working through chairs, curriculum
committees, and faculty members. Individual faculty teaching courses thereafter will need to copy the approved SLOs into
their syllabi, but any additional outcomes they wish to add will not require a formal approval process.
Once course SLOs are published in the General Catalog, current and prospective students should have a better idea of the
type of learning and learning activities that will be required of them.
Course SLOs should also complement program SLOs as much as possible; in other words, a range of courses from 100level to upper-division in an undergraduate program or across seminars leading to a comprehensive examination,
thesis/dissertation in a graduate program should align with the knowledge, skills, and/or values that the program wishes
students to demonstrate.
Please note that if the language of your SLOs is dictated by an external accrediting body, the guidelines below do
not apply.
Given that course SLOs will be reviewed by the University Courses and Curricula Committee (UCCC), the following is
intended to provide guidelines for writing learning outcomes:
1. It is often helpful to think of SLOs as building on the phrase, “Upon successful completion of this course, students will
be able to….” followed by what you want students to demonstrate by the end of your course: knowledge, abilities, skills
that you can measure to assess whether or not (and to what extent) students are learning your curriculum.
2. Use concrete action verbs (e.g., “explain,” “interpret,” “compose,” “evaluate,” “apply,” “communicate”) rather than
verbs that are difficult to measure (e.g., “understand,” “know,” “learn”).
Common verbs to avoid: “students will believe, hear, realize, comprehend, know, see, listen, memorize, think,
perceive, understand, experience, or feel”
Common phrases to avoid: “students will become acquainted with, aware of, capable of, cognizant of, conscious
of, familiar with, interested in” (think rather in terms of what students will do to prove to you their acquaintance,
awareness, familiarity, etc.)
3. Examples of well-written SLOs currently in the UNR General Catalog (each preceded by “students will” or “students
will be able to”):
In discussion and written work, critically apply concepts central to cultural anthropology, including
ethnocentrism, cultural relativism, and cultural construction of race.
Perform experimental techniques in a laboratory setting, including: fluorescent microscopy, extracellular
electrophysiology, and behavioral analysis in invertebrates and humans.
Apply computer tools such as Excel for modeling and problem solving related to civil and environmental
engineering design problems.
Document the importance of vaccines in improving public health as noted in written assignments and
Place American autobiographical writing in historical context, tracing trends in the representation of gender, race
and class in in life writing.
Recognize, position and develop commercial messages for strategic communications channels.
Compare and contrast the various fuel cycles (once-through, recycling-reprocessing, breeder cycles, etc.) and
explain the political and economic factors associated with the different cycles.
For questions and assistance, please contact Russell Stone (