An invitation to learn
Very often, as educators, we have a tendency to think about a course through the lens of the instructor and what content we need to “teach”. But you can take a look at your course through fresh eyes and rediscover your inner student.
How do you want your students to see your course, from start to finish? Why should students take your course? What will they find exciting in your course? What do you want them to take away and hold on to, long after the course is done?
During the Course Design Institute, you will focus on your students, what you want them achieve and how you can help them have a significant learning experience. Whether you are brand new to teaching or an old hand, there is always more to be learnt, and we hope that you will find this a rewarding experience that you continue to draw upon long into the future.
Throughout the week the CDI Team will provide you with:
- A team of peer-facilitators/coaches
- A safe, non-judgemental environment where participants and facilitators can think deeply (and with curiosity) about teaching, learning, themselves and their learners
- Support for risk-taking and risk-takers
- Novel, evidence-based ways to consider teaching and learning
- Resources (people, places, materials, time) to explore, reflect, discuss and experiment with the course-design process.
During your time at CDI, a team of peer facilitators will assist you in applying the principles, methods and strategies of backward design and course alignment. Each phase of the facilitation process is designed to model diverse pedagogical principles, including learner-centred teaching and active-learning techniques. Participants are placed in a small-group learning community for the duration of the institute, allowing for rich exchange of ideas and insights and collaboration among peers.
Institute Learning Outcomes
At the completion of this institute, participants will be able to:
- Formulate significant, measurable learning outcomes
- Develop formative and summative assessments; that is, an assessment plan that maps to learning outcomes
- Integrate evidence-based pedagogies and technologies, including learning activities, instructional materials and resources, that support the course learning objectives
- Develop content appropriate to the course learning outcomes.
Participants will leave the institute with at least one developed learning unit, complete with learning outcomes, assessments, activities and resources, as well as a plan for the rest of the course.
Who should participate?
CDI is designed to guide participants through the instructional design and redesign process in an intensive, five-day workshop. The institute will provide participants with the skills, knowledge and support necessary to foster a learner-centred environment. This workshop would suit course convenors who are interested in (re)designing a course and who are open to learner-centred approaches to course design.
Dates and Registration
In 2024 there are two options for completing the Course Design Institute.
1. Modular CDI (5 February - 22 March)
This is a new format, being piloted in 2024. It consists of online content plus two hour workshop each week from O-week to week 6 Term 1 in the Teaching Commons (total 7 workshops). The online modules cover the majority of the content, while the workshops will be used for discussion, activities and receiving feedback on deliverables. The modular CDI has the same deliverables as the intensive CDI (below). Applications close 15 January 2024.
2. Intensive CDI (26-30 August)
This is the "classic" CDI format. It involves five consecutive days in person on Kensington campus, working through the content, activities, discussion and feedback together. Applications close 14 July 2024.
** Please note: for the Canberra CDI (2-6 September 2024), please contact UNSW Canberra Learning and teaching group via email: [email protected].
Both formats will provide participants with the skills, knowledge, and support necessary to design significant learning experiences and foster a learner-centred environment. Participants will leave the institute with at least one developed learning unit, complete with learning outcomes, assessment, activities and resources – as well as a reworked course outline and a plan for the rest of the course. Course convenors who are interested in (re)designing a course and who are open to learner-centred approaches to course design are invited to apply. You may attend the CDI with a colleague to collaborate on your course design.
The next CDI in Canberra will run from 2 - 6 September 2024. Please submit your interest here by COB 25 August 2024. Sydney staff are welcome to join if they can get to Canberra for the week. For enquiries regarding the Canberra CDI, please contact UNSW Canberra Learning and teaching group via email: [email protected].
Focus topics for each day
DAY 1 will review the principles of backward design, situational factors and student motivation. Participants will think about the primary goal of their course and work on framing their course as "compelling questions". This will help them write an Invitation to Learn, aimed at stimulating students' curiosity and motivation, which will form the basis of a revised course outline.
DAY 2 will look at learning taxonomies and how they can help in writing meaningful learning outcomes. Participants will start to look at how the different elements of their course (learning outcomes, assessments and activities) are aligned – or not – in their course. By the end of the day participants will have clear learning outcomes that will inform the design of assessments and activities for the course.
DAY 3 focuses on assessment, paying particular attention to formative assessments and assessments as learning activities. Participants will design a "signature A=assignment" for use in their own course.
DAY 4 will expose participants to a range of innovative pedagogies and teaching strategies aimed at preparing students for the assessments that have been designed for the course.
DAY 5 brings everything together. Participants reflect on the week's work and present their final deliverable to their colleagues for feedback and ideas.
Reflections from past participants
Bring CDI to your institution
If you would like to bring the Course Design Institute to your institution, we are happy to share the program and help you adapt it to your particular context. One of our experienced facilitators can come to you to help you set it up and run it for the first time, so that you can pick it up and take it from there.
If you are interested, please email [email protected] to discuss possibilities.
Please email [email protected] if you have further enquiries about CDI.