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Course Design Institute

Frequently Asked Questions

Who may apply for the Institute?

Any instructor—faculty, post-doc, or graduate student—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 sought. In addition to UVA instructors from across Grounds, faculty from a number of other institutions have participated.

Course Design Institute

Photo by: Christian Hommel Photography

Is there a registration fee to attend the Institute?
Yes, there is a registration fee for the Course Design Institute. The fee covers all programming costs, including one-on-one consultation services during CDI. The CTE will provide participants with print resources, including a program binder with worksheets and handouts, a copy of Dee Fink’s bestselling book, Creating Significant Learning Experiences, and lunch and refreshments each day of the Institute.

The current fee is listed on the application and registration page.

UVA faculty may use their UVA Education Benefit to cover the CDI registration fee. The Education Benefit provides centrally-funded financial support for education, vocational, and professional development. If you are an UVA Academic Division employee and have one-year of benefits-eligible service to the University, you have an annual Education Benefit which can be used to pay for this course. For more information on the benefit and to confirm eligibility, visit the University Human Resources (UHR) website.

Up to five UVA graduate students will be accepted to participate in the Institute, with all expenses covered by the Center for Teaching Excellence.

I’m a UVA post-doc, do I have access to the Education Benefit?
Some UVA post-doc classifications are eligible for the Education Benefit. You can visit the University Human Resources (UHR) website to verify your status. If you are ineligible, you may apply under graduate student status, meaning that if accepted, the CTE will cover your registration fees.

How many participants are accepted?
In order to give more individualized help, the Institute is limited to approximately 40 instructors.

Course Design Institute

Photo by: Christian Hommel Photography

How much time will this take?
You’ll spend around 40 hours during the week working on your course design.  Nearly 3/4 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.

N.B. Many participants underestimate the 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?
Throughout the Institute, you’ll work in a small, interdisciplinary group comprised 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 want and hope my students will be able to do 3-5 years after taking my course?”  and “Why is this important to me?” Spending time in advance of the Institute contemplating 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 the book Creating Significant Learning Experiences and some specific exercises to help you more fully address these questions. We recommend that you read as much of the book as possible prior to the Institute.

Other questions?
Contact us at or 434-982-2815.