Course Design Institute

Helping instructors become the teachers they dream of being

Three women at CDIOur Beliefs

For over two decades now, the Center for Teaching Excellence has helped instructors create rich, active classroom environments which support meaningful student learning, the kind that changes the way students think, act, or feel. Our course development activities are predicated on the belief that you, as an instructor, care deeply about student learning and want to be the best teacher you can be. The Course Design Institute (CDI)—an intensive, multi-day, hands-on seminar—provides you the opportunity to experience the iterative, dynamic, and scholarly process of learning-focused course design. We firmly believe that participation in CDI can help you become the teacher you dream of being, a teacher who creates truly transformative learning experiences for students.

CDI Lecture 2015

Our Process

During the Course Design Institute, an interdisciplinary group of instructors will spend five days designing or substantially redesigning courses so that they promote significant, long-term learning. As a participant, you’ll explore learner-centered design principles in a large group setting and then work on your individual course design in a small, discipline- or pedagogy-focused learning team. Your learning team, led by an experienced facilitator, will provide you opportunities for brainstorming, individualized feedback, and on-going support. You are also invited to consult one-on-one with Institute Faculty throughout the week.

The design principles on which the Institute rest are grounded in the literature on course and syllabus design, educative assessment, active learning, and student motivation. Three components make our approach powerful: a taxonomy of significant learning and the concepts of backward and integrated course design.

Learning Cycle

This course design strategy, which begins with the question, “What do I want my students to know 3-5 years after the course is over?” offers you a framework for considering the whole learner, making her the focus of the learning environment. It provides you guidance for thinking about the types of knowledge and skills you want students to learn and how students might apply and integrate that knowledge. It prompts you to think about other dimensions of learning: how you might inspire students to care about that knowledge, and what students might learn about themselves, others, and their own learning. And, it asks you to carefully consider questions such as these: How do I assess whether I and my students meet the course goals.

Goals for Participants

The CDI is designed to expand participants’ pedagogical content knowledge, foster community and personal growth, and increase teacher satisfaction. During the Institute, you will…Three men looking at a computer

  1. Design or redesign a course built on learner-centered design principles;
  2. Develop a final or near-final syllabus;
  3. Learn how to apply research-based teaching and learning principles to design other courses.

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