Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Summer SLLO Set Up Sampler

As the great poet and prophet, The Fresh Prince aka Will Smith, once said, “Summer, summer, summertime. Time to sit back and unwind.” While the summer is a great time to relax, recover from the crazy semester, and regroup, it is also the perfect time to set you up for success in the upcoming school year.
With that in mind, take this summer to commit to encouraging and assessing student learning in your work with students, and let SLLO help you. This post will give you a few basic items and ways you can get involved when the weather gets hot and the blockbuster movies get cool.
  • Visit the SLLO website ( and look around. This may seem like an easy step, but have you ever just spent some time looking the website over? There are sections for advisors, for students, for rubrics and for activities. This is the first place you can look for SLLO resources, and the more you become familiar with it, the easier it will be to make it a part of your day-to-day work.
  • Attend the SLLO Orientation. Not only will you learn the history of SLLO, you will also get to meet with other people starting off their SLLO journey. Being able to bounce ideas off of others is vital for using SLLO.
  • Pick one aspect of the program and commit to trying it with your students. Whether it is using a particular rubric at the beginning of the semester, or learning contracts, or one-minute papers, just try something. Maybe it will work better than you ever imagined, or maybe it won’t, but you have to start somewhere.
  • Set manageable goals when using SLLO. It may not make sense for you to vow to use learning contracts for every student you advise, pull out learning outcomes for every meeting, and re-writing job descriptions. If you set a goal for using one resource for a handful of students, incorporating it into a larger group with more resources will become easier.
  • Talk about how your department or team is going to use SLLO in the upcoming year. Meeting agendas in the summer tend to have more room for discussion, so suggest to your supervisor a portion of your meeting to talk about student learning. If your colleagues are using the resources, chances are you will be more likely to use them as well.
  • Communicate with your student leaders and find out what they want to get out of their experience. Not only is your schedule freer in the summer, your students will have more time as well. Asking them what they want to get out of their experience will help you decide what areas to focus on in SLLO. If they want to improve their public speaking, use that rubric. Project management? There’s a resource for that. Ask them to think about their future careers and what they need to be successful in that.
Try these things over the summer, and before you know it, you will be amazed at how quickly it becomes a part of your everyday thinking.

Authors Note: From this post on, I will be taking SLLO on the road and writing away from the Texas A&M campus as I pursue other opportunities in my career. I still plan to contribute to the blog, so if you have any ideas for topics, please message me on Facebook (Tom L. Fritz) or follow me on Twitter (@TomLFritz). Thank you to the SLLO Leadership Team for allowing me to stay a part of this great resource even from across the country, and a pre-emptive shout-out to the Create and Share team for keeping me in the loop on the progress.

SLLO Interviews: Rhonda Rahn

On of the ways SLLO endeavors to provide resources is to connect you with other SLLO users. One of the founding members of SLLO is Mrs. Rhonda Rahn, Health Education Coordinator for the Student Health Services. She graciously answered a few questions about her experiances with SLLO.


1. How did you get involved in SLLO?

I was on the committee as a representative of Student Health Services in the beginning about 6 years ago and helped in creating some of the rubrics. After a time off, I was invited to be on the Leadership Team and began investing more in the project. 

2. What is the very first thing you’ve used SLLO tools for, and what was it?

Exit interviews. I began conducting exit interviews with my student workers after they leave.

3. Have you had an “a-ha” moment using SLLO?

Yes. The learning contracts I have now implemented with my student workers have caused me to be increasingly excited about the opportunities we can provide them outside the classroom; opportunities that are directly related to what they are learning in class.

4. If you had one sentence to describe SLLO to someone, what would it be?

It’s a project that can aid you in ensuring your students are learning what they are supposed to learn and will become better leaders because of it.

5. Can you share one activity or resource you’ve used that someone else might benefit from?

Learning styles quiz. I use it in my class I teach in the health and kinesiology department and it enables me to see the variety of learning styles in the class. I can then tailor my lectures to the different learning styles to ensure optimum learning.


Do you have more questions for Rhonda? Contact her at:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Welcome to the SLLO Blog

By: Tom Fritz

In the beginning, there were diaries. Short stout books, adorned with stickers and cheap locks that we hid with our most trusted secrets where nobody would find them, unless they spent more than ten seconds looking for it. Then we decided that others may want to read what we had written, surely we were funny enough in our own minds, and others would think the same. So we flooded the internet; LiveJournal, Blogger, GeoCities, all of these were the recipient of our writing, and just like that, online blogs were born.

What began as a way to talk about everyday life concerns and issues, over time, changed into a medium that was powerful and informative in its own right. Major news outlets began quoting authors, famous bloggers were given their own shows on TV, and landing book deals. Blogs began reporting on major news events before anyone else, and the comments became news on their own. Blogging was changing the way American’s searched for information. They became a tool to reach new audiences and bring knowledge to every computer in America.

With this digital discourse in mind, the Student Leader Learning Outcomes Create and Share Team is bringing you the SLLO blog ( Our hope is that through regular reading, you will be able to keep SLLO in the forefront of your mind and receive little bits of information for your daily consumption. Think of it as the student learning Tapas to the daily meal of your job.

What can you expect from this blog? Well, we are glad you asked:
• Ways to utilize the SLLO resources in your job. There are times of the year where many of us are doing similar tasks, and SLLO has resources that can help you make sure your students are learning through them. These resources include ways to help with recruitment, selection, running meetings, community service, and many others.
• Interviews with your colleagues across the division using SLLO in their jobs. Sometimes it can seem like you are the only person struggling with how to introduce SLLO into your students’ lives. These interviews can talk to you about what worked, and sometimes more importantly, what didn’t.
• Relevant news stories on higher education, and how they are impacting student learning. We will talk about different legislation or stories from around the country and how they can affect our jobs. If there are resources that may be helpful in adapting to this new reality, we will provide those to you.
• Whatever else you can think of. The authors of this blog are your colleagues, and may be sitting in meetings with you every day. If there is something you would like to see covered, let us know, or send us an e-mail at with the subject line “Blog Idea”, and we may cover it in a future post.

Bottom line, we hope that this will be useful for you as you help us help you bring SLLO to all of our students. If we can all make a commitment to encourage and enhance student learning outside of the classroom, we will make Texas A&M University the premier place were students come to learn.
So how about it, what do you hope to see from this blog in the future?