Objective: In this final part of the seminar, we offer some suggestions for next steps, ask you to reflect on what you have learned here, and point you toward selected resources for further learning. Afterward, you should be able to identify future actions you would need to take in order to be ready to teach the course you've been designing during this seminar.
A Look at Where We Started
The purpose of this online seminar has been to introduce some basic principles of effective course design and to prepare you to design courses in ways that promote learning. As we explained at the beginning of the seminar, there are many different models for how you might go about the work of designing courses, but our main goal was to emphasize strategies that set student learning as the dominant priority. Along the way, we've considered the difference between course goals and learning objectives, suggested some strategies for writing learning objectives, and briefly introduced you to learning assessment and the reasons for designing assessments as you design other key elements of your course.
We started with some fundamental assumptions and guiding principles:
That teaching is a situated act, focused on the relationships between teachers and learners, and that it demands engagement from everyone involved.
And that effective course design privileges learning over content coverage, plans for student engagement, and requires you to occupy multiple perspectives.
These principles have informed the way we've chosen to design this seminar and the way we've chosen to guide you through a course design process. Hopefully, the materials you've generated along the way can serve as raw material for future course planning efforts.
Of course, while you've begun to build some scaffolding for a designing a course, you haven't yet generated all of the content you would need in order to teach your course. In the next section, we'll take a look at some things you might do after this seminar
So, how do you get from the work you've done in this seminar to the first day of class? There's a lot of work left to do - like finalizing your assignments and assessment criteria, developing a syllabus, creating your course website, and so on.
The following checklist can help you move from the ideas you've had here to a more complete course plan:
This is just a checklist of the minimal things you'll need to do next. Depending upon your academic discipline, course goals, etc., there may be other steps you'll need to take, as well. As you continue planning your course, find out if your school/department has a Course Proposal Form; if so, get a copy, and use it to guide your future course design efforts. While you may not yet be in a position to propose a new course, it can be instructive to see what kinds of things are required in course proposal forms. If you don't have that where you are, check out this supplemental worksheet on The Anatomy of a Course - it provides some of the same prompts that are common on course proposal forms.
Finally, as you complete this seminar, we encourage you to seek out additional resources on designing courses. We list some possibilities in the Resources section, but there are many others in print, online, and in your own department that can help.
EXERCISE: Closing Reflection
Look back at the content you generated in the Opening Reflection Exercise and in the course planning activities you have completed in this seminar. Spend a few minutes reflecting on how your understanding of the course design process may have changed during this seminar. In particular, please reflect on the following questions:
- What did you learn in completing this seminar?
- What, if anything, surprised you?
- What is the first thing you will do next to further develop your course?
- When will you do it?
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