Before beginning to design your course, we recommend that you consider a number of factors about the situation, including:
Gathering information about and reflecting on these things—some probably more relevant than others, for your particular course—can inform important course design decisions. Even if you teach from a syllabus that your department provides, it is still helpful to consider some of these elements when determining your teaching strategies and planning community-building initiatives.
For example, if your course is an advanced course for students aiming to enter a certain profession, you could design opportunities for students to connect with professionals working in the field. Or, if there is new knowledge emerging in your field that is changing the way scholars understand the subject matter, you can design class activities and assignments around these turning points.
In other words, it’s worth considering what the students are going to be able to bring to the class. These factors will affect the kind of workload and activities your students are ready for, the teaching styles they’ll respond to best, the richness and number of potential complications in classroom dynamics, and the level of work they’re prepared to handle.
In other words, it’s worth considering what you are going to be able to bring to the class. Being conscious of these factors will help you decide what learning goals you want the students to pursue, what work you need to do before the course begins (and while the course is running) to be ready to teach, what materials and subjects you want to include in the course, and what particular insights and opportunities you’re able to provide.
If there is new knowledge emerging in your field that is changing the way scholars understand the subject matter, you can design class activities and assignments around these turning points; if you have access to successful teaching strategies and activities that have been used in this discipline in the past, you may want to use them yourself; you can also consider having students engage in activities similar to what professionals do in the field.
Thinking through these factors will help you to decide what material (and what level of material) to cover; what opportunities to include—if you’re teaching an advanced course for students aiming to enter a particular profession, for example, you could design opportunities for students to connect with professionals working in the field; how much to emphasize lectures or class discussions; and how to divide up the material across the length of the semester, among other things.
Please reach out to us at email@example.com if you'd like to have a conversation with someone at CNDLS about these or other teaching issues.