BESMS: Demonstrating Skills (or, should I use an exam, essay, quiz, journal activity…?)

During the course-mapping process, I relied heavily on the JIBC Research Skills Development Framework as it provides a plain language approach to clarifying skills and identifying evidence of their demonstration at different academic levels. Table 4 provided a particularly useful structure, highlighting the types of assignments appropriate to different research competencies:

Fig. 1: An excerpt of Table 4


In order to examine each course “equally”, I found it useful to identify the different types of academic activity that best represented each skill. This was a subjective assignment of tasks but I felt as long as I could be consistent it would allow me to consider academic activity in each course equally. To do this, I did a dry run analyzing the types of activities performed in a handful of courses. As I did this, I made chicken-scratch notes recording the types of activities I felt best represented the research competency.

Fig. 2: A sample of my notes (likely only legible by the author)


My final product was a list of academic activities for each competency. For example, I felt students were demonstrating the ability to Embark and Clarify when they:

  • Completed weekly posts on prescribed questions
  • Responded to short-answer questions
  • Completed a quiz or exam, or
  • Developed a research question.

As mentioned earlier, this list is subjective and likely specific to the BESMS program. However, as a tool it allowed me to compare “apples-to-apples” and map out how the various competencies were addressed in each course.