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The Course (Re)Design Workshop

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1 The Course (Re)Design Workshop
Ryerson University June 5, 2006 We would like to acknowledge and thank Dr. Lynn McAlpine of the McGill Centre for University Teaching and Learning for permission to base our workshop series on their Course Design and Teaching Workshop model and her generosity in sharing resources.

2 AT YOUR TABLES Who are you? With which academic unit are you associated ? On what CONCEPT are you working?

3 Intentions for the CRW To work collaboratively (within and between areas of study) on the design of an instructional event that addresses effective learning of a concept that is critical to your course To learn to use a set of simple conceptual tools of course design that are generalizable

4 Our intentional strategy
To use your scholarly abilities of analysis and inquiry to contribute to a process that is systematic, reasoned and intentional Your thinking leads to your actions which leads to student learning To develop a language, framework, and conceptual tools to enable: The design, development and assessment of instruction The analysis and critique of thinking and decisions of self and others An improvement in the ease of discussion about teaching with others

5 As a result of your inquiry, you will decide:
Content: What is the subject matter of the concept? Learning outcomes: What will students know, value, do as a result of learning about this concept? Instructional strategies: What kinds of practice and feedback will help students reach the learning outcomes? Assessment of learning: How will I and the students be able to assess progress towards the learning outcomes? 5

6 Some Assumptions Student learning is central to the design of courses
It is what students do that is important to the quality of their learning What students do depends on what you require of them What we know about the learning process will influence our choices of instructional strategies and assessment methods We are willing to consider ways of teaching and assessing that are different from what is currently done but are supported by what we know about the process of learning

7 The Ryerson Context Experiential learning Student Engagement
Academic Challenge Community Involvement Learning Focused Graduate Students as Teacher/Teacher Associates

8 Overview Part 1 Overview The CD Process Concept Mapping
Representing the Course Content

9 Overview Part 2 Review of Concept Maps Writing Learning Outcomes
Developing Learning Outcomes Giving and Receiving Feedback

10 Overview Part 3 Instructional Strategies
Developing Aligned Instructional Strategies

11 Overview Part 4 Assessment Developing Aligned Assessment
Presenting Aligned Assessment

12 Overview Part 5 Criteria and Standards
Developing Criteria and Standards for Grading Formative Assessment Poster Session of Instructional Event Wrap Up

You will be able to describe the course design process You will be able to articulate some of the factors contributing to improved student learning You will be able to describe in detail one process through which the content of a course could be determined. You will be able to clearly articulate a major concept for your course or project of choice, identify the central and peripheral course content and describe the relationships amongst the course content related to your concept of choice.

14 Instructional Design The systematic process of translating principles of learning and instruction into the specification of instructional materials and activities. Implicit in the definition is that as a result of good instructional design there will be “more learning in less time with greater satisfaction.” (Johnson and Foa,1989)

15 This is only one way to engage in course design/redesign
This is only one way to engage in course design/redesign. This method may be modified or rejected depending on the needs of your discipline and your own perspectives on learning and teaching.

16 What evidence to we have that this sort of activity is productive?

17 What evidence to we have that this sort of activity is productive?
Centre for Academic Transformation: case studies in 9 US research universities Research on impact on student learning between ‘innovative teaching projects’ and course redesign projects

18 So what’s in it for students?
Improved student learning both in quality (deep vs. surface) and effectiveness (grades). Improved transfer of knowledge, skills and values Improved satisfaction with educational process and with institution

19 What’s in it for you? Increased satisfaction with teaching
Improved student ratings of teaching in the longer term Content for your teaching dossier Initially an increased workload but eventually a ‘streamlined’ process for teaching

20 Course Design Process Instructional Strategies Content Learning
Student Learning Content Learning Outcomes Assessment CONTEXT

21 Creating a Concept Map Intensive writing: 5 minutes, just keep writing, don’t edit, don’t stop! Read what you have written; circle anything that you consider to be important content or process. Create a comprehensive list from the course content and processes that you have identified in the writing exercise.

22 Creating a Concept Map Write each item on a post-it note.
Arrange them in a way that you think reflects the relationships between/among these items. Think about the overall shape or format of your arrangement. Does it reflect the overall structure of knowledge about the concept?

23 Creating a Concept Map Try to label the connecting lines/arrows between and among items to more clearly indicate the nature of the relationship among them. Get feedback from someone who is not at your table.

24 Creating a Concept Map When you are satisfied with your first draft, construct a diagram that represents the arrangement of the post-its. Present your concept map to the group at your table.

25 Course RedesignWorkshop Part 2

26 I would be content if we began, all of us, by recognizing that discovering how to make something comprehensible to (our students) is only a continuation of making something comprehensible to ourselves in the first place Jerome Bruner, quoted in Ramsden, 1992, p. 150

27 Course Design Process CONTEXT Instructional Strategies
Student Learning Content Learning Outcomes Assessment and Evaluation CONTEXT

28 Research has shown that people learn more effectively and successfully when:
They know what the end result of their learning will be (outcomes). The outcomes are meaningful (relevancy) They have the prerequisites for learning (needs assessment/sequencing). They are presented with an appropriate level of challenge (effort)

29 `Cheshire Puss,' she began, rather timidly, … `Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?' `That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat. `I don't much care where--' said Alice. `Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat. `--so long as I get somewhere,' Alice added as an explanation. `Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, `if you only walk long enough

30 LEARNING OUTCOMES You will be able to describe how to develop a learning outcome. You will be articulate clear and appropriate learning outcomes for the course content that you have identified in your concept map.

31 Learning? A relatively permanent change in knowledge, skills and values brought about by practice or experience Is internal and so can only be assessed by what the student ‘produces’ What the student produces depends on what you require

32 Outcome? Comes from systems theory and refers to results or products
Outcomes focus on the interaction between the the course content and the student All elements of educational activity in the course are linked to the outcome and so is useful as an analytic device.

33 Learning Outcomes Are the competencies acquired by students as a result of the knowledge, skills and values developed through the educational experiences in your course. Measurable indicators of change Explicit indicators that the students have reached the course goals

34 Benefits Communicates your expectations to students
Communicates to administrators, other instructors etc. the nature of what was included in the course A valuable aid to planning

35 Backward planning? By stating the learning outcomes well, we can work backwards from the outcomes to determine the best way to achieve those results [teaching methods and materials; feedback and assessment methods]

36 SMACable Learning Outcomes
Specific Measurable Attainable Clearly stated and Concise SMART: Specific, Measurable, Assessable, Realistic, Time based.

37 Domains of learning procedural cognitive affective

38 Domains of Learning Cognitive: all intellectual processes that require decision making Procedural: any skilled process –usually serial, repetitious and predictable Affective: values, attitudes, beliefs, emotions, motivations These are overlapping and difficult to separate and so a learning outcome may be expressed in terms of the dominant domain.

39 Exercise #1 Choose one central concept in your course
Identify one outcome for this concept in each of the 3 domains by completing the following statement Students who have learned successfully in this course will be able to…..

40 Exercise #2 Review your previously stated learning outcomes and analyze them in terms of the level of learning that they address

41 Exercise #3 Write one learning outcome for your course for each of the following levels of learning Acquiring and integrating knowledge Refining and extending knowledge Meaningful application of knowledge Students who learned successfully in this course will (be able to…..)

42 Instructional (Re)design Part 3

43 Course Design Process CONTEXT Instructional Strategies
Student Learning Content Learning Outcomes Assessment and Evaluation CONTEXT

44 Bridging the Gap Desired level of skill, knowledge, and attitude
Learning experience instructional activity Current level of skill, knowledge, and attitude

45 A Surface Approach to Learning
Students appear to: study to reproduce information to meet assessment demands; aim for achieving minimal requirements, and appear to be focused solely on passing with little attention to learning and transfer to other contexts or courses. focus on pieces of information in isolation, rather than making connections between concepts and seeing the structure of what is being learned;  rote learn information for the purpose of reproducing it; have a negative perspective on learning. 

46 A Deep Approach to Learning
Students appear to: attempt to develop understanding and make sense of what they're learning; focus on the meaning of what they're learning. make ideas their own; make connections between course concepts and make connections with previous experiences; reflect on what they're learning, discuss their ideas with others;  explore the subject beyond the immediate requirements; have positive perspective on learning and the course material

47 A deep approach is encouraged by:
an understanding of the relevance of the course materials to their program of study frequent opportunities for course participation and interaction with instructor and peers opportunities to connect and integrate new concepts with prior learning or experience

48 A critical distinction between these two approaches
A deep approach is used for the purpose of understanding and creating meaning from the course material. A surface approach is used for the purpose of reproducing the course material. Memorization may be a part of either approach.

49 Distinctions In the deep approach, the memorized material is used in analysis, synthesis, making judgements, etc. In the surface approach the material is only reproduced without extensive interpretation. If one assesses for understanding and creates opportunities for a deep approach to learning, students will be encouraged to do so.

50 A surface approach often results from:
 excessive amounts of course material few of opportunity to work with the content in depth lack of choice in subjects and/or in methods of study high-stakes assessments without formative assessment and useful feedback

51 Learning More than ever, the sheer magnitude of human knowledge renders the coverage by education an impossibility; rather the goal of education is better conceived as helping students to develop the intellectual tools and learning strategies needed to acquire the knowledge to think productively about history, science and technology, social phenomena, mathematics and the arts. (Bransford, et al., 2002, p. ii)

52 Bransford, Cocking, and Brown (2000)
Engage initial understanding/pre-existing understanding to enable understanding and retention of newer concepts Develop a deep foundation of factual knowledge within a conceptual/meaningful framework that organizes knowledge in such a way that retrieval and application is facilitated Adopt a metacognitive approach to instruction can help student to take control of their learning through the definition of learning goals and monitoring progress

53 Good Practice in University Teaching (Gamson and Chickering, 1992)
Encourages student-instructor contact Encourages cooperation amongst students Encourages active learning Gives prompt feedback Emphasizes time on task Communicates high expectations Respects diverse talents and ways of knowing

54 First Principles of Instruction
Learning is facilitated when: The learner is engaged in solving real world problems New knowledge builds on the learner’s existing knowledge New knowledge is demonstrated to the learner New knowledge is applied by the learner New knowledge is integrated into the learner’s world David Merrill

55 Practice Quantity -- Time on Task
Quality – promotion of understanding/meaning/connections/

56 Some Assumptions: We are designing this event for learning not for teaching. Learning takes place in and out of class time so we are designing courses for approximately 120 hours of learning as opposed to 36 hours of teaching (1:2 ratio of class time to ‘practice’ time). Students can learn without us being present and can learn material that we have not ‘covered’.

57 C A = Relevancy-setting the stage B = Informing (on content or task)
C= Instructional Strategies (fading feedback and structure) D = Formative Assessment E = Summative Assessment C D B D D A D E TIME McAlpine (2004)

58 Bridging the Gap Desired level of skill, knowledge, and attitude
Learning experience instructional activity Current level of skill, knowledge, and attitude

59 What constitutes an instructional activity?
Anything that engages the student with the course content/processes What they do in class (e.g. small group discussion; peer instruction; free writing exercise; student presentation; guest lecture; …) What they do out of class (e.g. problem sets; literature search; pre-class readings; collaborative project; essay writing; preparing for assessment of any kind …)

60 Choice of Instructional Strategies
Depends on your perspective on teaching and student learning

61 Teaching is providing the students with an organizational framework with they can make sense of the course material. Teaching is the development of meaningful interactions between the instructor and the student Teaching is the transmission of information Teaching is the promotion of conceptual change and intellectual development in students

62 Course Orientation and aligned instructional strategies.
Transmission– e.g. lecture Transaction– e.g. case study Transformation – e.g. inquiry learning Other examples?

63 Exercise Develop one instructional strategy for one of the learning outcomes determined in the previous session.

64 CRW Part 4

65 Course Delivery Course Preparation


67 Assessment “The assessment of students is a serious and often tragic enterprise.” Ramsden, P. (1992), p.181

68 Learning Outcomes You will be able to distinguish between formative and summative assessment and their functions. Describe various methods of assessment and a be able to choose appropriate methods for specified learning outcomes.

69 Some Assumptions: Assessment activities are part of the learning process We are assessing for learning (long term retention/transfer/deep learning) not for assessment-specific performance. Learning takes place in and out of class so our assessment plan is for approximately 120 hours of learning as opposed to 36 hours of teaching (1:2 ratio of class time to ‘practice’ time). Students can contribute to their own assessment and can help to assess others.

70 Assessment Course Design Process CONTEXT Content Learning Outcomes
Instructional Strategies Student Learning Content Learning Outcomes Assessment CONTEXT

71 Why Assess? • to grade or mark • to pass or fail • to allow to proceed
The Student • to licence • to predict success • to motivate • to give feedback • to detect strengths & weaknesses • to select for a particular program

72 If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you have always gotten. Anon.

73 Strategy For every learning outcome, there are instructional practices and assessment schemes There must be congruence amongst these three aspects Multiple ways of practicing and multiple ways of being assessed. Practice and assessment can be individual and collaborative (collaboration can be part of the scaffold)

74 Link back to LOs and instructional strategies
A = relevancy-setting the stage B = informing (on content or task) C= Instructional Strategies (fading feedback and structure) D = Formative Assessment E = Summative Assessment A B C E TIME D

75 Formative Assessment:
Assessment activities that contribute to learning as well as indicating the degree of learning Used by students and instructors to inform them of their progress and enable adjustments May be graded or ungraded Range from formal to informal Summative Assessment Assessment activities that occur at the end of a period of learning and are used to obtain a macro view of learning and to determine the level of learning.

76 Levels of Learning The learning outcome can be directed at one or more level of learning Acquiring and integrating knowledge knowing Refining and extending knowledge understanding Meaningful application of knowledge Critical and creative thinking

77 Some influences on student learning
Surface learning may be induced by: heavy workloads sole use of examinations, multiple choice questions that test only recall. Deep learning may be induced by: reasonable workloads some choice a variety of assessment tasks project work multiple choice questions that test understanding

78 Some key features Meaningful Authentic-valid and reliable Challenging
Mark-able (time and content) You are able to describe clear criteria for success You are able to determine the ‘level’ of engagement

79 The effect of few assessment occasions
More difficult for the students to gauge their strengths and weaknesses and therefore they are less able to improve Longer gaps between sources of feedback and therefore the student is less likely to be interested in what it tells them With fewer feedback opportunities, the students’ summative work will be of lesser quality Less of the course is sampled though assessment and students become selectively negligent Decrease in motivation

80 Exercise Develop one formative and one summative method of assessment
Criteria One must be collaborative One must involve peer assessment One must be directed at the “elaboration and refining “ or meaningful application level of engagement

81 Assessment Course Design Process CONTEXT Content Learning Outcomes
Instructional Strategies Student Learning Content Learning Outcomes Assessment CONTEXT

Part 5

83 Course Design Process CONTEXT Instructional Strategies
Student Learning Content Learning Outcomes Evaluation CONTEXT

84 Few faculty members have any awareness of the expanding knowledge about learning from psychology and cognitive science. Almost no one in the academy has mastered or used this knowledge base. One of my colleagues observed that if doctors used science the way college teachers do, they would still be trying to heal with leeches J.J. Duderstadt (2001), president emeritus University of Michigan, "A University for the 21st Century."


86 Whatever we say about our ambitions to develop understanding and critical thinking in our disciplines, it is in our assessment practices and the amount of content we cover that we demonstrate to undergraduate students what competence in a subject really means. (p. 72).

87 Current level of skill, knowledge and attitude
Bridging the Gap Learning Outcomes SummativeAssessment Learning objectives Formative Assessment Current level of skill, knowledge and attitude

88 C A = relevancy-setting the stage B = informing (on content or task)
C= Instructional Strategies (fading feedback and structure) D = Formative Assessment E = Summative Assessment C D B D D A D E TIME

89 Formative Assessment or Classroom Assessment
Informal assessment of student learning Informal assessment of teaching effectiveness

90 Examples One minute paper The muddiest point…. What’s the Principle
Concept Map Misconception/Preconception Check Pro/Con Matrix

91 Formative Assessment for Tracking your own Progress
Highlights/Lowlights Course Committee Class Coaches Mid Term Check In

92 Tracking your Progress
Course Elements What are you changing? And how are you doing this? Why are you changing this? What are your pedagogical reasons? Evidence? How will you know that the change has been successful? Content Learning Outcomes Instructional Strategy Assessment

93 Moving on to ‘scholarship of teaching’
The vision of a research university [is an] institution that [does] not limit the objects of an investigation to those matters outside of itself. Indeed, it [is] critical that a research university treat itself as a proper subject for investigation and its own work as an ongoing experiment for such investigation. The university must be constantly and critically asking about its own work, its own efficacy, its own role, vis a vis its students, its community, and its society. The vision of the university is also the vision behind the scholarship of teaching and learning. We can hardly be a moral community with mission statements that talk about the central place of teaching and learning if we are not also places that investigate these processes and place them at the center of the scholarship in which we properly take such pride. Lee Schulman, President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, available at

94 Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
Classroom research– testing and modifying what you do using the modes of inquiry appropriate for your area of study. Potential for publication.

95 Course Redesign Elements: Thinking, Action, and SoTL
Exchange course outlines with colleague(s) and critique using CR elements  Watch a videotape of your teaching from a problematic class Use CR elements for program review to analyze relation between courses and learning Discuss with colleague(s) how to better assess learning outcomes using CR elements

96 Work for Part 5 Pull it all together! Begin your course outline
Figure out how you are going to track you progress. Enjoy your success!

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