Whether you are a new faculty member sorting through course material compiled by another instructor, or a seasoned instructor who has been given the opportunity to design courses from scratch, course design can present its share of challenges and opportunities. How do you decide what content to cover, in what order, and how it fits within the time frame of your course? And how do you maximize your time with your students to ensure they are effectively learning the most essential content from you?

To help Ohio State faculty work through this process, UCAT offers Couse Design Institutes. These multi-part experiences provide Ohio State instructors with a proven method of course design that helps participants identify the learning outcomes they value most, and then purposefully choose content and assignments that will lead toward successful (and measurable) achievement of these outcomes. Participants work through this process in community with a diverse array of colleagues and with the support of professional instructional consultants.

Our Course Design Institutes all run for five (for in-person courses) or six (for fully-online courses) sessions, either daily or weekly depending on the time of year. Participants meet once per session for three hours and also complete homework tasks online.

Research has proven that UCAT’s Course Design Institutes aid instructors in becoming expert teachers by fostering metacognition—or deep reflection—on teaching practices. One participant noted the helpfulness in the reflective, personalized nature of the CDI: “Having this dedicated time really helped me think deeply about the nature of what I’m thinking. While being structured, I felt like I had freedom to come to my own conclusions.”

Each CDI session is facilitated by two UCAT staff members who guide the group using interactive activities and individualized work. Despite having facilitated over 70 CDIs, reaching more than 700 participants, UCAT staff remains committed to updating the agenda and adapting to new research patterns and trends. The structure of the institute has been refined over time and provides a space for participant growth and development. One participant noted that “The logic of the [Institute] structure is incredibly valuable. The content was fantastic; broken down into logical steps.”

Further, being embedded within a community of educators allows participants to share ideas and best practices in an encouraging, friendly environment. CDIs are open to all levels of instructors at OSU and welcomes Graduate Teaching Associates, tenure-treack faculty, lecturers, and staff. A five-year study completed by UCAT indicates that “the combination of a learning community model and backward design is a high-impact practice” with ongoing results for participants.

Please considering applying for one of our upcoming Course Design Institutes. Currently, we are accepting applications for our Winter Break CDI (December 18-22) as well as two institutes (including one for fully-online courses) that begin in January 2018.