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US Experience in its Diversity


Written and Oral Communication:

Evidence of “well-reasoned written or oral arguments using evidence to support conclusions” can be demonstrated through the following assignments and activities: (CUNY LOs— Written Communication & Oral Communication: Activities & Assignments to Meet the Learning Outcomes).

For this category, essays, research papers, book reports, letters to politicians, class presentations, debates, and interviews are examples of written and oral assignments that can meet additional learning outcomes that require students to “analyze and explain” or “discuss” themes, institutions, and patterns of life in contemporary U.S. society and U.S. history, and “evaluate” how diversity of population has affected the U.S. or how the U.S. has affected world history.

Learning outcomes and the assignments/activities that demonstrate how the class will meet those outcomes should be included in the course syllabus (link to syllabus template). The Writing Across the Curriculum Program and the Reading/Writing Center can provide consultation and sample assignments. John Bean’s Engaging Ideas offers examples of various writing assignments that might be useful. For a complimentary copy (supplies limited), contact Dennis Paoli,


Critical Reading and Research:

Evidence of “Gathering, interpreting, and assessing information from a variety of sources and points of view” can be demonstrated through annotated bibliographies, research papers, understanding primary vs. secondary sources, letters to politicians, debates, and book reviews. Additional assignments and activities can be found here: (CUNY LOs— Written Communication & Oral Communication: Activities & Assignments to Meet the Learning Outcomes).


The Library can support these outcomes through the following offerings:

  1. Lab-based research sessions focused on: finding and evaluating information sources specific to each discipline or interdisciplinary field; knowing and using the vocabulary, concepts and theoretical framework of a discipline to identify and evaluate relevant contextual sources (historical, cultural, economic...) and new research findings; selecting specialized databases, catalogs and credible Web-based sites that provide counter-arguments, different points of view or schools of thought.
  2. Research guides for subject areas in this core, including: History, Political Science, Hist 151, Polsc 110Hist 152 can be integrated into course curricula to direct students to relevant information resources.


Critical Thinking

The Common Core learning outcome for critical thinking, that students should be able to “evaluate evidence and arguments critically or analytically,” can be met through assignments and activities that also meet the Written and Oral Communication learning outcomes and the Research and Information Literacy outcomes.

Academic activities that require students to perform research also require that students “evaluate evidence” in evaluating the sources they find and that they assess “critically” the articles and data those sources provide. So do writing assignments and oral presentations, expository or argumentative.  


The assignments and activities below meet more than one of the common learning outcomes:

(A course can meet several of the Common Core required learning outcomes by using these assignments/activities.)

Written and Oral Communication (WO),
Critical Thinking (CT),
Research and Information Literacy (RIL).


2 required outcomes:

  • Annotated bibliography (CT/RIL)
  • Analytic essay (WO/CT)
  • Compare/contrast essay (WO/CT)
  • Expository essay (WO/CT)
  • Summary essay (WO/CT)
  • Lab report (WO/CT)
  • Debating (WO/CT)

The following assignments and activities can meet at least two learning outcomes if students are directed to “evaluate evidence and arguments critically or analytically” in the process:

  • Personal essay (WO/CT)
  • Letter writing (WO/CT)
  • Online discussion (WO/CT)
  • Panel discussion (WO/CT)
  • Speeches (WO/CT)
  • Role playing (WO/CT).

3 (all) required outcomes:

  • Documented research paper, Bibliographic essay (literature review), Book report/review
  • Any of the assignments and activities in “2 required outcomes,” except the Annotated bibliography, can meet all three required learning outcomes if they include academic research (RIL), i.e. “gathering, interpreting, and assessing information from a variety of sources and points of view.”