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Course Design Institute

The Course Design Institute is a week-long immersive experience that will spark new ways of thinking about courses, empower instructors to prioritize what matters most, and help to create clear learning paths for students. Most CDI participants leave with 80-90% of their courses designed.

Grounded in research and based on a national model developed at the University of Virginia, the CDI has helped hundreds of faculty around the country design innovative, transformative learning experiences for students. Faculty routinely praise the CDI as a transformational development experience.

Who should apply?

Instructors willing to explore new possibilities for their course and engage in cross-disciplinary conversations about course design. Note: This is a particularly good opportunity for faculty who don’t have a course release but need time and space to design a new course or re-imagine an existing one.

When is it? 

The next offering of the CDI will take place June 22-26, 2020 (Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.). In addition to the time spent in the workshop, participants will complete key course development tasks outside of institute hours and receive formative feedback on their course materials throughout the week. Participants must commit to attending all sessions during the CDI.

How to apply

Applications for the 2020 Course Design Institute are at this LINK:

Who may apply for the Institute?

Faculty interested in designing a new course or substantially redesigning an existing course may apply. Instructors who are open to learning-centered approaches to course design and those willing to fully and actively participate in small, structured learning communities are especially well-suited to this experience.

Is there a registration fee to attend the Institute?

No. The Reinert Center covers the cost of the CDI, which includes continental breakfast and lunch each day.

How many participants are accepted?

In order to provide individualized support, the Institute will be limited to 15-20 participants.

How much time will it take?

You’ll spend around 40 hours during the CDI week working on your course design.  Most of this time is spent in the Institute itself—approximately six hours per day for four and a half days. The remaining time is spent outside of class completing various components of your course design and preparing for the next day’s discussions. The good news? When faculty invest this time in the CDI experience, they often leave with 80-90% of their course design completed. N.B. Many participants underestimate how much time outside the Institute it takes to fully develop their course over the week. Consider clearing your calendar completely and dedicating the entire week to designing your course.

Do I have to attend all the meetings?

You are expected to attend all meetings. Throughout the Institute, you’ll work in a small, interdisciplinary group of fellow instructors. This learning community will provide you thoughtful, constructive feedback, alternative perspectives, and general support and encouragement.  As such, we ask that you plan to attend each meeting and come with your “homework” completed.

What do I need to do to prepare for the Institute?

When either designing a new course or redesigning an existing one, the two most important questions you can ask are, “What do I hope my students will be able to do three - five years after taking my course?” and “Why is this important to me?” Spending time before the Institute reflecting on these questions will greatly facilitate the design process. We will send you a few key resources one to two weeks prior to the Institute, including a short article to read and some specific exercises to complete. This preparation will help you more fully address the questions above.

Other questions?
Contact Mary Cook at or at 314-977-3944.