The details

  • Date: 10 August, 2021
  • Speakers: Shane Oshetski and Roberto Arruda
  • Title: Uncovering the Hidden Curriculum and Utilizing Transparent Assignments
  • Host: Center for Teaching & Learning at CU Boulder, part of the Equitable Teaching Conference

The notes

What is the hidden curriculum?

  • implicit norms and expectations which are not formally communicated to students
  • these are often placed within a dominant learning culture
  • the hidden curriculum defines a “right” way of thinking, speaking, looking, and behaving based on the dominant culture

Who is affected by the hidden curriculum?

  • first generation students
  • international students
  • students with different linguistic practices (such as ESL)
  • anyone not familiar with the dominant sociocultural norms

What are some examples of the hidden curriculum? Participants in the workshop submitted objectives that they wanted students to learn in their class, but weren’t included on the formal curriculum.

  • time management skills
  • working effectively in groups
  • writing coherent essays
  • interpreting technical figures
  • asking for assignment extensions when needed
  • networking with professor and classmates
  • going to office hours

What is transparent instruction?

  • the goal is to make the expectations for success clear to students
  • in addition to delivering content, explain why the class is structured in such a way
  • create common language around expectations (e.g., in Bloom’s taxonomy, what does Analysis mean?)
  • use a problem-centered approach, but make sure the problem is relevant to everyone

Components of a transparent assignment:

  • Purpose: is the goal to practice a skill or gain new knowledge? Why is this assignment important? How does it relate to other assignments?
  • Task: what needs to be accomplished? What are the steps?
  • Criteria: what does a successful attempt look like? How will it be graded (provide a rubric)? What is an example of excellence?