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Course Design

Course design is a critical starting point for facilitating and maximizing student learning. Effective course design provides numerous benefits to both the teacher and learner. Course design is a deliberate, systematic and creative endeavor for the teacher to best enable the students to attain the threshold concepts (goals) of the course. It is the process of solving (preventing) problems that are yet to emerge.

Creating MORE EFFECTIVE and EFFICIENT course learning experiences! 

Course design is beyond a syllabus and a list of readings/chapters and/or possible activities.

It enables effective teachers to:

  • Share their passion and expertise more effectively with their students
  • Project professionalism, knowledge, and skill
      • Enhance clarity of communication with students
      • Model professionalism and high expectations
  • Establish greater alignment of goals/objectives with assessment activities
  • More clearly establish and monitor roles and expectations
  • More effectively pace and sequence course concepts, activities, and assessments (assignments/tests)
      • More specific planning ahead
      • Have greater flexibility to better match the course to the learners
      • Accommodate a greater variety of learners
  • Systematically utilize student feedback and own reflections to make on-going course revisions and enhancements
  • Facilitate greater learning
  • Remove artificial (unnecessary) barriers to learning
  • Be more creative developing a greater affiliation with the course and learning experience
  • Be more likely to be learner-centered
  • Offer a more diverse array of learning experiences

When integrating technology into course design, teachers need to ensure that:

  • Such technologies positively benefit the learning experience such as enabling:
      • Greater or more varied access to course information and learning experiences
      • Greater variety of pertinent options to interact with and engage in the course, assignments, and tasks
      • Accommodate a more diverse body of learners
      • To increase effectiveness:
          • Seek help from University support specialists in the TLC
          • Seek assistance from colleagues across campus
          • Attend/participate in the teaching and learning opportunities:
              • Webinars
              • Virtual conferences

Three Components of Typical Course Designs

  • Course Goals/Threshold Concepts
  • Assessments that determine the degree to which the learners have met the stated goals
      • Rubrics
      • Rating scales
      • Well-structured quizzes (multiple-choice, ranking, sequencing, reorganizing, etc.)
  • Planned learning experiences, activities and practice that will support student progress to the stated goals
      • Infrastructure and contexts
      • Authentic practice (developmentally appropriate)
      • Sequencing of learning experiences:
          • Before - During - After class
          • Face-to-face meeting times are valuable and should be utilized to engage in experiences which most need that context
      • Roles of teacher(s) and learners
      • Required resources

Last Published: Mar 12, 2021