CTRL Course Design Institute

The CTRL Course Design Institute (CDI) is a series of workshops and supplemental materials to support faculty and staff as they design courses and learning environments optimized for inclusion, engagement, and deep learning. It is meant for anyone aiming to revamp an existing course, create a completely new course, or enhance their teaching practice, whether teaching in-person, online, or in a hybrid environment. The institute will introduce you to inclusive, evidence-based practices in course design and teaching while incorporating ample opportunities for collaboration, reflection, and application. By the end of the institute, you will have developed a complete course plan and additional instructional materials and ideas to implement directly into your course(s).

“If you have never learned about course design, you need this course. If you have learned about it but are unsure, you need this course. If you already know but want to refresh, you need this course.”

“I had a great experience. I would like colleagues to know that this is a valuable course. It will help them think of new ways to make teaching more engaging for faculty and students.”

“Tremendously valuable in fostering community, engagement, and effective designs–plus highly useful evidence-based tools!”

“Realizing that everyone is teachable, especially those who are teaching was the most valuable experience for me. And also, power of sharing and empowering each other, which was achieved by the work of the brilliant teachers we had.”

“I loved that we were able to apply much of the learned content during the course, i.e in breakout rooms in small groups, using Jamboard and other tools or as homework.”

Participation in the Course Design Institute offers instructors:

  • A foundation in inclusive and equitable course design to apply to your teaching and syllabi development now and in the future
  • An expanded teaching toolkit, through an introduction to and experience with a variety of inclusive, student-centered, evidence-based teaching practices
  • Resources, time, and support to (re)design a course, including access to a resource-packed Canvas page, focused worktime during sessions, and personalized consultations with CTRL teaching support staff
  • Interactions with colleagues from across American University, with structured opportunities for feedback, sharing ideas, and building professional relationships

Fall 2023 Institute Schedule

In Fall 2023, CTRL’s Course Design Institute will occur on Wednesday, October 11th, 18th, 25th, and November 1st from 12pm-1:30pm. Participants should plan to attend all four sessions, as the sessions build on each other. Participants should also expect to dedicate around two hours a week to asynchronous assignments that help them develop their course materials. The institute is designed to be a dynamic, interactive, and fulfilling professional development experience, and thus requires your active participation!

Participants who engage in all the live sessions and complete the required activities will receive a certificate of completion to include in your teaching portfolio as evidence of professional development in teaching. 

Workshop 1: Applying Equitable Course Design Frameworks

Learning Outcomes:  

By the end of the session, participants will be able to:  

  • Distinguish the concepts of diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice from each other using the concept of the DIEJ spectrum  
  • Explain how the implementation of UDL strategies can promote student achievement of course learning outcomes  
  • Define the backward design process 

Description:  

Where should you begin when (re)designing your course? In this session, we will introduce evidence-based frameworks for equitable course design, such as Universal Design for Learning and Backwards Design. Throughout the institute, we will prioritize intentionally accessible course design to help you increase engagement and deepen learning for all students. This background will help guide your course (re)design process during the rest of the institute. 

Workshop 2: Developing Purposeful Learning Outcomes and Assessments

Learning Outcomes:  

By the end of the session, participants will be able to:  

  • Articulate clear, measurable learning outcomes for your course(s)  
  • Describe different types of assessments and their benefits 
  • Develop an assessment plan for your course(s) that aligns with your course learning outcomes 

Description:  

How do you articulate and communicate to students what they will learn in your courses? In this session, you will learn to develop transparent and measurable learning outcomes and design authentic and accessible assessments that align with your outcomes. We will discuss the concept of course alignment, a process in which your learning outcomes guide your instructional decisions. This session builds on the concepts introduced in Workshop 1 because you will utilize the frameworks to define inclusive learning outcomes and assessment plan

Workshop 3: Measuring Student Learning through Promoting Participation and Providing Feedback

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of the session, participants will be able to:  

  • Identify formal and informal assessments to measure and monitor student learning in your course(s)  
  • Apply effective feedback and evaluation strategies to promote student learning in your courses 
  • Evaluate the alignment of course learning outcomes with assessments and learning experience 

Description: 

How do you know if students have achieved the course outcomes and how should you assess them? In this session, we will focus on assessment and student learning. Through formative and summative assessments, and various active learning techniques, you will develop a plan to monitor and assess your students’ mastery of learning outcomes. We will also review best practices for providing feedback and evaluating students’ work. This session builds on Workshops 1 & 2 because you will consider which approaches to assessing student learning best align with your learning outcomes. 

Workshop 4: Establishing an Inclusive Learning Environment for Student Success

Learning Outcomes:  

By the end of the session, participants will be able to:  

  • Identify instructional models that support a student-centered learning experience 
  • Apply intentional and thoughtful instructional strategies to engage students in service of your course learning outcomes 
  • Select strategies to make your course(s) more inclusive, equitable, accessible, and/or just 

Description: 

How will you design the student learning experience to support their achievement of the course learning outcomes? In this session, we will consider evidence-based instructional models and approaches that support student-centered learning. We will also review instructional strategies that can help you build an equitable and positive classroom learning environment. This session builds on the previous 3 workshops to help you determine the appropriate instructional approaches to help students thrive in your course.