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 & 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 & 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 & 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 & 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 & tasks
    • Accommodate a more diverse body of learners
    • To increase effectiveness:

3 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 & practice that will support student progress to the stated goals
    • Infrastructure & contexts
    • Authentic practice (developmentally appropriate)
    • Sequencing of learning experiences: Before - During - After class
      • Face-to-face meeting times are valuable & should be utilized to engage in experiences which most need that context
    • Roles of teacher(s) & learners
    • Required resources

Course Design Models

*Please share suggestions, strategies, other designs and relevant resources. These resources are considered ever-evolving in an effort to support learner-centered teaching.

Instructional Design Resources