According to author L.D. Fink, effective course design makes the biggest difference in classroom learning and success. Consider these strategies and resources for designing your course.
What makes the biggest difference in student learning and successful classes? It is effective course design, according to internationally acclaimed author L.D. Fink (Creating Significant Learning Experiences, 2003).
Effective course design is the intentional planning of a course to help students achieve significant learning. It begins with creating essential learning goals (or “learning outcomes”) around which the course is built, followed by designing assessments that can demonstrate student achievement of those goals. Finally, it requires you to plan activities that help students attain learning that lasts. Fink calls course design “the most significant [factor]” in improving teaching and learning in higher education.
The Center for Teaching and Learning provides online guides for effective course design, including one based on Fink’s model(s)
- A Self-Directed Guide to Designing Courses for Significant Learning: This is a full course-design worksheet by L. Dee Fink, PhD.
- Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education: This article outlines seven principles with examples that will improve undergraduate education.
- Planning Your Course: A Decision Guide: This document consists of eleven questions to guide your course design.
- Leading Questions for Learning Outcomes: Includes a checklist of questions for faculty and students to consider when writing learning outcomes.
- Implementing Learning Outcomes: A document to assist faculty in developing and using learning outcomes to assess their programs
- Designing a Course Syllabus: See strategies and examples for constructing an effective syllabus.
- Conceptualizing the Syllabus: Read an article from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Teaching & Learning Center, by Dr. Leora Baron.
- Constructing the Syllabus: Read an article from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Teaching & Learning Center, by Dr. Leora Baron.
- The Syllabus: A Key Online Tool: Read an article from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Teaching & Learning Center, by Dr. Leora Baron
For assistance with course design, contact your CTL Teaching & Learning Consultant.