An INQ Rubric

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Where on the "Road to Inquiry" Does Your Course Fall?

"Experimenting with INQ" "More Fully INQ"
Clarity and Visibility of the Driving Questions The driving questions are implied, and it is hoped that a good student will ask these questions in learning course content. The course is driven by the important questions. These questions are clear and visible to students in almost every course session.
Role of the Instructor The instructor generally acts in a more traditional role – as a source of information that must be digested by the students. However, certain activities or modules have been included that let the students discover information for themselves. The instructor acts as a guide, and as a facilitator of a great learning experience. Much of the instructor's time is spent communicating to students how to use the course content to develop good habits of mind. The instructor takes the time to model good thinking skills to the students.
Time Spent Doing Inquiry The inquiry portion of the course takes the form of one or more small "modules" added to a class schedule that is essentially unchanged from what was done before. Adequate time has been allocated to routinely allow students to think deeply about problems, issues, or investigations. In some cases, this may require a sacrifice in the breadth of content that can be covered; in others, there may be a change in how some content gets delivered to the student.
Feedback and Increasing Independence Students have chances to do inquiry, but they are few in number and little feedback is given each time. It is hoped that simple exposure to such things will make them better inquirers. Alternatively, the opportunities for doing inquiry all take place outside of class, without an instructor present – making it difficult for the instructor to gauge if "good inquiry" was done. (There are a lot of bad ways to solve problems that still produce the right answer…) The course is intentional about getting students to become increasingly better inquirers. Students have multiple chances to test their "INQ mettle". Each time, feedback is provided regarding how they might better attack or explore the problem or issue at hand; how they can be more efficient; how they can avoid non-fruitful paths of investigation; and so on… Also, while students might initially be given some sort of "scaffolding" for their inquiry (perhaps in the form of in-class modeling of good disciplinary thinking, explicit written suggestions for how to proceed, or something equivalent) – the amount of scaffolding provided is gradually reduced over the span of the course.
Evidence/Proof of Fruitful Inquiry The development of inquiry-based assignments and activities is more focused on simply getting to the "solution of the problem" or "coming up with the correct analysis" – the assumption being that invalid arguments will be recognized by the student and rejected. Assignments and activities are intentionally designed to require students critique and defend their arguments, positions, analysis, results, etc… In many disciplines this happens through discussion and/or collaboration, in others there are other ways. These assignments and activities are designed so that students learn how to know if what they say is valid, and learn how to know if they truly understand the item in question.
Assessment Student grades depend on the same tests and other assessment tools used in a non-INQ version of the course. Students are not just graded on their understanding of course content, but on the quality of their thinking skills – on their mastery of the art of inquiry in that discipline. An emphasis on "oral" feedback by the student is frequently useful here, or at least some vehicle that provides a window into the actual (messy) process of active inquiry – instead of just written work which is more outcome-oriented (i.e., a final "polished" product with all of the non-fruitful lines of inquiry removed).
Connections “Real-world” questions, interdisciplinary connections, or ethical issues are mentioned but are not central to discussions. An identifiable effort is made to get students to understand the connections between the content of the course and the "bigger picture". When possible, (and acknowledging that in some disciplines, this is harder to do than in others) student investigations are motivated by “real-world” questions and/or ethical issues. Both common and complementary elements of other disciplines' approaches to inquiry and/or content are made clear. These connections are an essential element in at least some major aspect(s) of the course.
Syllabi Syllabi include a statement about the nature of "Ways of Inquiry (INQ)" courses and how the course in question fits in with that philosophy. The INQ nature of the course is clear throughout the syllabus, with explanations of how specific lessons, assignments, and activities further the goals of a "Ways of Inquiry" course. References to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning as it relates to teaching through inquiry might be included. Ultimately, being able to incorporate "common language" for describing the INQ nature of the course should be desired, although exactly what that common language might be has yet to be discussed by the faculty. The goal is that students will be able to recognize how this course fits in with other INQ courses on campus forming a cohesive, integral component of our new GEP.
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