Objectives for Online Interviewing Unit

My focus when looking at taxonomies and writing objectives and activities was to plan a unit for a 200-level interviewing class in which students would learn and apply skills necessary for conducting an interview in a web-based space. I am a list-maker and that is one of the reasons I appreciate taxonomies. They are useful for grouping and listing ideas.

The Taxonomy of Significant Learning (Fink, 2013, p. 35) was interesting because it was presented in a circular shape. Rather than a line that comes to an end, I liked the circle as parts of a whole that all exist in a learner’s mind and life at the same time. Similarly, Figure 2.2 shows how the categories are “interactive” (p. 37). I wish the chart builder I chose had a circle option. I also appreciated Fink’s discussion of how today’s learning goals must go beyond cognitive learning (p. 34). His taxonomy is similar to Bloom’s with the levels that build on each other and involve increasing cognitive effort, but adds intrapersonal/interpersonal elements. As communication is a social science, affecting our personal lives as well as intellectual, Fink’s categories seemed a good fit for organizing interviewing units.

What follows is a chart I made using the six significant categories presented by Fink (2013). Under “Foundational Knowledge” I am assuming students have a background in vocabulary and concepts from the first few weeks of the course (like the definition of an interview) but will also be learning some core concepts specific to interacting in an online environment (what software exists, how to navigate it). We can then work on some “Application” goals which are characterized by “critical, creative, and practical thinking” and “managing projects.” In this case, students will be writing questions and preparing for an actual online interview that will be conducted as part of the “Integration” of their new knowledge.

I will also ask them to reflect on their own performance and that of their interview partner, and social factors that may have affected the interview, as part of the “Human Dimension.” That also leads nicely into a discussion of the interpersonal side of interviewing, with “Caring” learning that can happen when students reflect on “feelings, interests, and values” including how students can protect their legal rights and use interviewing skills to reach their career goals.

Lastly, I am hoping to engage students in “Learning How to Learn” by showing them how interviewing can be a reflexive process through which they can continually improve. On the first day of all my communication classes, I point out the fact that even though we “talk” to other people every day, we never usually take the time to reflect on where misunderstandings really come from or how we could present ourselves better. It’s like how many of us use a computer every day but have no idea how the parts work or what coding language means. You don’t have to know the theory or mechanics to do everyday tasks, but if something breaks you’re stuck. Taking the time to study what you’re doing and learn the how/why behind it means you will have a better understanding of how to get unstuck.


5 thoughts on “Objectives for Online Interviewing Unit

  1. Owen

    This is a solid start, Alda. Nicely done. I too like Fink’s taxonomy. I initially liked it for the fact that it includes the categories on the left hand side of the pie (Learning how to learn, Caring, Human Dimension). But, I really liked your line, “Rather than a line that comes to an end, I liked the circle as parts of a whole that all exist in a learner’s mind and life at the same time.”

    The left hand seems to follow inevitably, to some degree, learning goals and activities on the right. But if we design for those other aspects of learning, we can create even more significant learning experiences.


  2. Bob

    I am really intrigued with this project. To my mind the skill itself is invaluable. I can see how one of the projects could be a Skype or Facetime interview. This is a tool that we used to interview one candidate for student supervisor who was abroad. I’m not certain where the suggestion was made, but, I also like the idea of recording a face to face interview for one of the projects — simply because that is bread and butter for job interviews. The move to “reflexive” practice is a solid strategy too.

    It is none of my business in the details of content — but, I will offer this insight from sitting on a lot of search committees this past year: I really look for the candidate to interview me and us as well. I want them to turn bad questions into good conversations about both themselves but also about the people and the organization — it has to be a good fit for them too.

  3. Jenny

    I liked your objectives, particularly the synthesis level one, that has students compare interviewing techniques for different mediums. I also liked the “learning to learn” component of you unit. Having students reflect on recordings of themselves interviewing seems like a valuable “real world” exercise, that will come in handy in their futures.

  4. AnneMarie Mattacchione

    I just realized how much I still don’t know:) Up until now, I imagined that interview skills are applicable no matter the media used. But then again, after interviewing applicants on the phone and then hiring them, the necessary awareness of the differing techniques and skills used is critical for successful interviews. I want to say “duh” to that- but I think it just occurred to me. So thank you for that realization. I think I need to take your course. One suggestion I have would be your choice of objective under “Learning how to Learn.” I see learning how to learning as the student reflection on the way the student learned, their awareness of strategies, etc. Your objective: Students use feedback to set improvement goals for next interview. I like the idea of this kind of reflection but perhaps being more specific would help? So my suggestion would be: Students will list specific strategies they learned to set improvement goals for next interview.


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