Design encompasses the act of making intentional, reflective choices about how an activity, course, or curriculum will lead to desired outcomes for student learning regardless of the course delivery format (online, face-to-face or hybrid). These intentional choices form a learning environment in which students follow an instructional path as they build disciplinary understanding and knowledge.

OPS’s focus on course design shapes our conversations with faculty to better understand their current teaching goals and practices in a particular course. We then work with the faculty member to identify methods or strategies that will achieve these goals.

Design Backward Deliver Forward
Image Source: Plan for Designing and Implementing Learning Outcomes (Huba & Freed, 2000, p.108)

Here are some sample topics of course design consultations:

Transform Existing Face-to-Face Course Offering:

Do you want to refresh your existing face-to-face course by incorporating new technologies to enhance your teaching and student learning? Would you like to develop an online section of your existing course? Does a hybrid course offering interest you? OPS can assist you in course refresh or transitioning from one course format to another.

Goals for Students:

What do you want students to know and be able to do upon completion of your course? How will the course build on where students started and help them move through the remainder of the curriculum?

Authentic Assignments:

What assignments will allow your students to reach the goals identified and develop skills that are enduring? Assignments should be both integral to the course experience and provide opportunities for students to articulate and demonstrate how they think about the topics presented. Active learning techniques provide many ways to offer variety in course assignments such as: incremental assignments, portfolios, reflective essays, final projects presented to an audience, group work, research projects, or community-based learning projects.

Relevant Course Content:

A clear understanding of your course goals and assignments makes content choices less about what you need to cover and more about students’ coherent understanding of the topic. What course content will directly contribute to students’ understanding and help them reach the goals set forth by you?

Syllabus Construction:

SU has a recommended Course Syllabus format. We can help you translate your goals, assignments, and content into a syllabus or update your existing syllabus.

Feedback and Assessment:

How will you know that students have achieved those goals? How can you incorporate feedback opportunities within the course for students beyond the usual mid-term or final examination? OPS assists in developing assessment strategies that align with your goals for student learning, yield information that will enhance your current course offering, and identify ways to teach the course differently next time.

OPS can also help faculty strategize teaching large lectures, aid in the selection and incorporation of technology to support goals and assignments, and assist in the organization of group work and large-scale, student-driven projects.

Curriculum Design:

The curriculum design process includes teams of faculty working on a particular aspect of a major curriculum. Discussions about the skills, experiences, and knowledge you expect of your graduates contribute to the redesign of gateway and capstone courses, new tracks within the curriculum, or common assessments that gauge disciplinary development.