Most instructors get little or no training in how to design courses. At the start of their careers they are often more focused with the subject matter and putting together a good lecture. While content is important, it is only one element of course design. With the wealth of information and communication technologies available today, most information can be called up within seconds. The instructor's role then changes from being a dispenser of information to being a creator, facilitator and assessor of effective learning activities. Using a systematic approach based on one of the models of instructional design described here will help you to focus on each of the key components of your course. The basic components of both models are similar and emphasize the need to start with the end point, or learning goals. Taking this approach ensures that the content is focused and organized.
UbD is a 3 stage model that relies on "backward design". In Stage 1 you identify the learning outcomes - what student's should be able to do, the "big ideas" or global understandings, and essential questions that will guide the learner towards understanding. In Stage 2 you determine what you will accept as evidence - how you will assess that understanding and new skill acquisition have occurred. Only when these stages are complete should you turn your attention towards the sequence of activities, events and resources you'll need to create or provide to the learners.
Learn more in these online books in Kellogg Library
Understanding by Design, by Wiggins and McTighe
The Understanding by Design Guide to Creating High Quality Units, by Grant Wiggins
By following the steps below and the principles outlined in the self-directed guide, you can build a solid foundation that will enable active, meaningful learning.
Adapted from Fink, L.D. (2003). Creating Significant Learning Experiences, Jossey-Bass.
A Self-Directed Guide to Designing Courses for Significant Learning, by Dee Fink, PhD, based on the book " Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses, By following the principles outlined in this document, you can create strong, effective, focused courses that will significantly impact your students.
Idea-based learning: a course design process to promote conceptual understanding, by Edmund J. Hansen, 2011