Course Design and Instruction

In Snapshot, students rate the following items in this module:

5-Strongly agree  I  4-Agree  I  3-Neither agree nor disagree  I  2-Disagree  I  1-Strongly disagree 

  1. The course material is organized in a way that is easy to follow.
  2. The course content challenges me without being overwhelming.
  3. The instructor’s methods encourage me to do more than just sit and listen.
  4. The pace of the course allows me enough time to absorb the material.
  5. Feedback on assignments furthers my understanding of the material.

  6. About Course Design and Instruction

    Both online and traditional courses need to be carefully planned, or designed, to create effective learning experiences for students rather than leaving them to chance. Among other things, faculty must clearly think-through what they want students to learn, how they will know students learned, and what learning experiences they need to ensure that learning takes place. Building such a course is much more than lining up a calendar of topics one after the other. Poorly designed courses can lead to poor learning experiences for students which can be reflected in student ratings of a course. 

    Responding to low ratings from students

    If students have given lower ratings on your course design and instruction than you anticipated, begin by reflecting on the overall design of the course. Have you developed clear learning outcomes for the course that match the learning experiences and assessments students experience? Have you created learning experiences that are thoughtfully designed to help students clearly understand content rather than just giving them a bunch of content? Do your assessments actually assess what you expect students to know or be able to do in a meaningful way? Do you provide regular, meaningful feedback on student work with the opportunity to improve?
    Considering each item in the module separately may be of benefit if one or more of them are rated by students significantly lower than the others. If students say they do not find the course content challenging (item 2), for instance, then this might mean you should reconsider the learning outcomes for your course and move, perhaps, to more applied learning rather than lower level knowledge acquisition. Even if you think students’ perceptions of a particular issue is incorrect, ask yourself why they have the perception they do. Perhaps you need to frame and explain assignments more effectively, for example, rather than changing the actual assignments.

    Resources for Course Design and Instruction

IDEA Paper 42: Integrated Course Design

IDEA Paper 51: Using Graphic Organizers to Improve Teaching and Learning

IDEA Paper 47: Promoting Deep Learning

IDEA Paper 57: The Flipped Classroom  

IDEA Note on Instruction: Made it clear how each topic fits into the course

IDEA Note on Instruction: Stimulated students to intellectual effort beyond that required by most courses

IDEA Note on Instruction: Demonstrated the importance and significance of the subject matter

IDEA Note on Instruction: Inspired students to set and achieve goals which really challenged them

Faculty Focus: Backward design, forward progress


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