Course Design/Assignment Design


Course planning and design are crucial for a successful course. The links in the first section on this page provide instruction on all aspects of course design, including several tutorials that walk an instructor through the complete process of course design. The next two sections provide links on assignment design and course assessment. The final sub-section links to two videos on instructional design with numerous examples.

Course Design

Course Design Tip-Sheet (Harvard University, Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning).
Multiple questions designed to take you through the process of planning a course and syllabus.

"Designing and Teaching a Course," Speaking of Teaching, Stanford University Newsletter on Teaching, Vol. 9, No. 2, Winter 1998. PDF/Adobe Acrobat.
A discussion of conceptualizing, organizing, and teaching a course. Includes such topics as considering the audience, setting objectives, determining course format, and evaluating learning.

"Integrated Course Design," L. Dee Fink, Director, Instructional Development Program,University of Oklahoma. (IDEA Paper #42, March 2005). PDF/Adobe Acrobat.
This article presents a rationale and thorough description of L. Dee Fink's model of integrated course design.

"A Self-Directed Guide to Designing Courses for Significant Learning," L. Dee Fink, Director, Instructional Development Program, University of Oklahoma.
Guidelines for designing a course that integrates learning goals, feedback and assessment procedures, and teaching/learning activities.

Designing Better Learning Experiences.
Dee Fink and his associates have put together multiple kinds of information on course and syllabus design:  basics of course design, resources such as handouts and templates, examples of good course design, plus a listserv and special topics forum for communicating with others.

Getting Results: A Professional Development Course for Community College Educators (Funded by the National Science Foundation and produced by WGBH in Boston and The League for Innovation).
This site offers a free online course on designing courses for effective teaching. Six modules take an instructor through creating a community of learners, planning for outcomes, active teaching and learning, moving beyond the classroom, teaching with technology, and assessing teaching and learning. The modules apply best practices in teaching and learning by including active learning experiences, videos, notebook jottings, reflections, and more.

Designing Effective and Innovative Courses,” Barbara J. Tewksbury (Hamilton College) and R. Heather Macdonald (College of William and Mary).
This is an online course design tutorial for individual faculty members interested in designing or redesigning a course. The focus is on geoscience, but the process used is generic enough to design courses in all disciplines.

Also see Freshman Seminars

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Assignment Design

"Structuring Assignments for Success," Deborah DeZure, Michigan State University (In Whys and Ways of Teaching, Eastern Michigan University, Faculty Center for Instructional Excellence, Vol. 9, No. 1, Feb. 1999).
This article discusses key issues in structuring successful assignments, such as using assignment packets, identifying necessary skills and assuring that students have them, and establishing criteria for evaluation. Includes sample evaluation forms and a worksheet for structuring assignments.

See also the resources listed under Syllabus Design on this website.

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Course Assessment

Course-Based Review and Assessment Handbook (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
A handbook for designing and implementing assessment activities in a course. Includes examples of types of assessment and methods for interpreting and using the results.

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Michigan State University Resources

A video by Dr. Stephen Yelon, an MSU Emeritus Faculty Member who consulted for the Office of Faculty & Organizational Development.

The Secret of Instructional Design
MSU’s own Dr. Stephen Yelon describes an instructional design process to help guide your lesson, module, and course development. This video includes five example lesson types planned with this design method:
1.Recalling Facts
2.Recognizing Examples of Concepts
3.Applying Principles
4.Performing Physical and Mental Skills
5.Performing Interpersonal Skills

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