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Course Design Methods

How do you design a course?

Sfootprintstep 1

Start with writing the desired student learning outcomes for the course.  What should students be able to know and do by the end? (including any program outcomes).  Use these tools to help with writing outcomes.

footprintsStep 2

Start a working syllabus for your course (see the UT Syllabus Template on the Syllabus Page).

footprintsStep 3

Choose strategies to assess student learning outcomes and identify practices for including all students in learning online and in the classroom.  Consider what will you (the instructor) say and do and what will students do?  Use a “three column model” to make plans.

footprintsStep 4

Determine appropriate content and activities for the learning environment, given your desired student learning outcomes. For instance, consider how students will learn the material at higher cognitive levels. Write a “learning environment statement” (see the syllabus template).  Consider if other than traditional course delivery methods are helpful–such as the flipped classroom or teaching for threshold concepts, or blended or online learning (and consult with OIT).

footprintsStep 5

Choose strategies to exchange feedback on learning—formative and summative– during the course. Add these strategies to your three column model listed on the tools page.


footprintsStep 6

Create unit or class session plans to stage learning (consult the “How To” on unit planning).


footprintsStep 7

Determine daily methods of engaging students and encouraging responsibility for learning. I.e. social media, technology, active learning techniques, frequent application of learning. Consult the course management how to’s, as well as the TennTLC Blog and Teaching Tips. The Visual Resource Table can be useful as well.


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