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General Education for Students and Faculty

Ohio Northern’s general education plan is based on learning outcomes that specify the abilities that ONU expects each student to cultivate through general education. Beginning with matriculation and continuing through their educational experiences at ONU, our students will demonstrate:

  1. Effective communication (both written and non-written)
  2. Critical and creative thinking
  3. Scientific and quantitative literacy
  4. An understanding of diverse cultures and their effects on human interaction
  5. Integration of concepts across disciplines
  6. Informed and ethical responses to personal, civic, and global needs
  7. Informed responses to aesthetics in art or nature

Evidence of attainment of these outcomes will appear in artifacts produced through individual academic work, collaborative academic work, or co-curricular activities. The artifacts must be graded by the course instructor and may take many forms, including items such as a paper, an examination essay, an oral presentation, etc. These artifacts will be stored in an electronic portfolio. Faculty members will assess the artifacts with a rubric designed specifically for each outcome. A rubric is a performance-based assessment tool that evaluates student performance with regards to specific criteria. The assessment will be reviewed by the University Assessment Committee to further strengthen and document the effectiveness of our general education plan.

All courses at ONU are eligible to participate in the general education plan. Each student at ONU is required to complete the following four courses with a grade of C or better as part of the general education plan:

  • Transitions Experience (1000 level):  Offered within the student’s college, this course demonstrates ties between general education and the student’s major and facilitates the student’s transition from high school to college life. 
  • Writing Seminar (1000 level):  Introduction to college-level writing skills, including critical reading, the formulation of arguments, researching and incorporating outside sources, and writing essays.
  • Extra-disciplinary Seminar (2000 level):  This course expands a student’s experience beyond the major by exploring a common theme from other perspectives. Each instructor will develop a unique course that reflects the common theme.
  • Capstone (4000 level):  The capstone is a high-impact educational activity that a student completes at or near the end of a student’s academic program.

Any course that the General Education Committee tags for at least one general education learning outcome is part of the general education curriculum. Those courses that have agreed to participate are known as “tagged”. A tag is defined as an indication of a general education learning outcome that a course satisfies. Students can search for the tag information on particular courses through their Luminis account or via the registrar’s website (Schedule/Catalog search). 

A checksheet that summarizes the artifact requirements for general education has been developed. Note that each student’s portfolio must contain 20 artifacts, as specified on the checksheet. If a student fails a course, the artifact(s) associated with that course do not meet the general education program requirements. If a student has transfer credit work, there is the possibility that the student will receive a waiver in proportion to the hours transferred. However, all students must earn at least one artifact for each outcome and complete the extra-disciplinary and capstone coursework at ONU in order to meet the university general education requirements.

Academic faculty advisors will work with the students each semester to select appropriate courses to meet the degree requirements and to fulfill the general education requirements. Further information regarding general education, artifacts, and the usage of the electronic portfolio are provided below. The full general education plan is available from the Academic Affairs website.  



Accessing the Electronic Portfolio Software.  Taskstream, Inc. is the contracted provider for the university’s general education portfolio needs.  All first-time freshmen and faculty instructing tagged course sections have been provided with an account.  To access the account, you will need to enter the Taskstream product via the following link:  Enter Taskstream Portfolio Software Account.  Your username and password are the same as those used to access your ONU Self-Service Banner account.  If your Self-Service Banner username and password does not provide you with access to Taskstream, please contact Dr. Julie Hurtig in Academic Affairs for assistance ( )

Training Materials for Students.  Students can learn more about the portfolio software by reviewing the training material specifically written for ONU's General Education plan.

Information for Faculty.  Faculty who wish to submit their course to the General Education Committee can find the forms by clicking here.  Faculty can learn more about the portfolio software by reviewing the training material specifically written for ONU's General Education Plan.  Faculty Guide to Taskstream

Portfolio Assistance.  If you are not understanding how to navigate through the software, please contact either Dr. Julie Hurtig in the Academic Affairs Office at  or you may call the Taskstream support line at 1-800-311-5656.  Note the support line is open every day of the week, with extended hours on Monday through Thursday of 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. 


Tagged Classes

If a course is designated to have an assignment that demonstrates a specific general education outcome, we call that course “tagged.”   Over 400 courses are currently tagged.  You can search for tagged courses by using the “Schedule/Catalog Search” link on the registrar’s website.

Schedule Catalog Search

In the first drop-down box field, you can choose to select a specific department or you can highlight all of the departments.  The general education outcomes are listed in the “Attributes” drop-down box.  Choose the specific outcome you want to review, or select multiple outcomes.  Note that you do not want to choose “All”, as that will pull all courses in the catalog.  Also, note that the attribute of “non-western cultural” is not part of the current gen ed program, but is rather left in place to support the students who entered under the quarter calendar. 

Another option to identify tagged courses is to refer to the following table that will be periodically updated. 

General Education Courses with approved tags as of March 2, 2016

Students are encouraged to track their course work for General Education by using the General Education Checksheet. Below is a checksheet that can be edited and saved by the student.  Students can also view their Gen Ed tags in Degree Works.

General Education Checksheet


FAQ for Students

To see various Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and the answers, open the FAQ for Students document.

Registrar's Office

Melanie Hough

Fax: 419-772-2627
Lehr Memorial Building Room 106
525 South Main Street
Ada, Ohio 45810
Monday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tuesday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Wednesday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Thursday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed
Academic Affairs

Tammy Everhart

Fax: 419-772-1932
Lehr: 204B
525 South Main Street
Ada, Ohio 45810
Monday: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Tuesday: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Wednesday: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Thursday: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed