IDEA Course Evaluations

The 13 IDEA Objectives

For your reference, the 13 general IDEA objectives are:

  1. Gaining a basic understanding of the subject (e.g., factual knowledge, methods, principles, generalizations, theories)
  2. Developing knowledge and understanding of diverse perspectives, global awareness, or other cultures
  3. Learning to Apply Course Material (to improve thinking, problem solving, and decisions)
  4. Developing specific skills, competencies, and points of view needed by professionals in the field most closely related to this course
  5. Acquiring skills in working with others as a member of a team
  6. Developing creative capacities (writing, inventing, designing, performing in art, music, drama, etc.)
  7. Gaining a broader understanding and appreciation of intellectual/cultural activity
  8. Developing skill in expressing myself orally or in writing
  9. Learning how to find, evaluate, and use resources to explore a topic in depth
  10. Developing ethical reasoning and/or ethical decision making
  11. Learning to analyze and critically evaluate ideas, arguments, and points of view
  12. Learning to apply knowledge and skills to benefit others or serve the public good
  13. Learning appropriate methods for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting numerical information

Selecting Objectives

IDEA recommends that a total of 3-5 objectives is a good rule of thumb. You can select them as either "important," or "essential," with essential objectives double weighed (counting twice) in the calculation of your averages. Both important and essential objectives should be counted towards your overall total (e.g. pick 3-5, not 6-10). The best approach to selecting objectives is to ask three questions:

  1. Is this a significant part of the course?
  2. Do I do something specific to help students accomplish this objective?
  3. Does the student's progress on this objective affect his or her grade?

If you can answer "yes" to all three questions for a particular objective, it should be selected as either "important" or "essential."

Faculty should be "true to their course" when deciding how many objectives to select. In other words, if you are teaching a lab course where only one objective seems appropriate, then just select one. If you are teaching a senior capstone class for the major, and you feel you should select more than five, then feel free to do so. Be true to your course.

The selection of objectives on the Faculty Information Form is a crucial activity for two reasons. First, the IDEA System evaluates teaching by assessing student progress on these unique, instructor-chosen objectives. Second, objectives provide guidance for selecting teaching methods; those that promote progress on one type of objective may differ from those that promote progress on other types. Differential objectives make each course a unique learning experience.

Although objectives can be stated in a variety of ways, they should always focus on expected effects on students, not on the instructor's actions or procedures designed to promote learning. It is desirable for each instructor to develop statements or objectives as precisely and comprehensively as possible. In order to participate effectively in the IDEA program, it will be necessary to interpret these statements within the framework provided by the 13 objectives listed on the Faculty Information Form.


Help students make the connection between your IDEA objectives and the course objectives by providing a table that shows the relationship. The table below is an example from Heidi Wengreen's Advanced Sports Nutrition class. It is also helpful to periodically remind students of the connection between objectives, especially as you near the end of the semester and students are getting ready to fill out their course evaluations.

Course Objectives

IDEA Learning Objectives Course Learning Outcomes (at the end of this class students will be able to...)
Object 4. Develop specific skills, competencies, and points of view needed needed by nutrition professionals. 
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of the integrated metabolism of nutrients during different internal and external conditions related to sport and exercise.
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of current evidence-based recommendations regarding the nutritional needs of athletes with varying individual needs and performance goals.
  • Create and analyze nutrition prescriptions using specific criteria.
  • Synthesize diverse information sources in order to translate the latest scientific findings to practice.
Objective 3. Learning to apply course material.
  • Delineate benefits and risks of popular fad diets and dietary supplements frequently followed and used by athletes.
Objective 11. Learning to analyze and critically evaluate ideas, arguments, and points of view.
  • Evaluate the scholarly merit of information sources in the area of sports nutrition.