On the Cutting Edge - Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty
Designing Effective and Innovative Courses
Topical Resources
Cutting Edge > Course Design > Course Design Tutorial > Faculty professional development > Workshop nuts and bolts

If you have dropped in from somewhere else, you might wish to start with the either the introduction to our Course Design Tutorial itself or the introduction page for faculty professional development for those who want to adapt or adopt our Course Design workshop.

The nuts and bolts of our course design workshop


CD_poster1
Our premier workshop is an intense, four-day, face-to-face workshop that we typically run with 30-40 participants and 5-7 facilitators. In our experience, this length and intensity of workshop allows participants to make significant progress toward course design or redesign and takes participants to a level where they confidently follow through to offer their new courses.

This section of our web site provides details on how we run our 4-day course design workshop. If you are interested in adapting our approach for a shorter workshop or an online format, please see our description of alternatives.


Before beginning, you may wish to download the documents referred to in discussions in this section, including our PowerPoint slides (PowerPoint 1.2MB Mar16 10), the workshop assignment sheets (Acrobat (PDF) 125kB Dec22 05), a detailed workshop schedule for the summer 2005 workshop (Acrobat (PDF) 149kB Jan5 06), the format for final workshop posters (Acrobat (PDF) 19kB Jan5 06), the "daily road check" evaluation form (Acrobat (PDF) 61kB Jan4 06), and the workshop final evaluation form (Acrobat (PDF) 64kB Jan4 06).


Workshop details

You can start either by working through the details of our workshop schedule or by browsing the factors below that we believe are key elements in the success of our workshop.

Key elements

Choosing facilitators

Small group discussion at course design workshop

Having a meeting of leaders and facilitators before the workshop

Limiting talking heads and providing adequate work time

Emphasizing adaptation of assignments and activities, rather than adoption

Computer demo at Course Design Workshop
  • College and university faculty rarely adopt previously-developed materials wholesale.
  • We try to avoid presentations of the type "Here's what I do in my classroom" and, instead, use examples that can be generalized into strategy templates that participants can use in developing their own assignments and activities.

Providing individualized feedback

  • Our workshop asks participants to challenge their assumptions about their courses, and providing advice and "tree shaking" is a crucial part of the development process.
  • Participants receive feedback from each other and from facilitators early and often, both as scheduled parts of the workshop and as individual consultations with facilitators.

Offering options for teaching strategies and assessment

  • Our participants commonly bring very different backgrounds to the workshop in terms of familiarity with classroom strategies other than lecture.
  • Our workshop is structured to allow participants to pick and choose among a variety of sequential and concurrent sessions on classroom, assignment, and assessment strategies.

Demanding products at various stages

Participant making a poster
  • Course design involves making difficult decisions. Requiring regular work products that others will provide feedback on during the workshop helps participants avoid the trap of floating through the workshop without making those hard decisions.
  • Periodic work products (typically in the form of informal posters done on giant Post-It notes with markers) also provide a record for participants to use after the workshop as they follow through to develop and teach their courses.

Developing a plan of action

  • On the final day of the workshop, each participant writes a plan of action that, as realistically as possible, projects what needs to be done between the workshop and the first day of classes.
  • Such an action plan contributes, we believe, to the high percentage of participants who leave the workshop confident that they can follow through with their course design plans.

Go to workshop schedule details :: Go back to main developers page

____

©2005 On-line Course Design Workshop and Tutorial developed by Dr. Barbara J. Tewksbury (Hamilton College) and Dr. R. Heather Macdonald (College of William and Mary) as part of the program On the Cutting Edge, funded by NSF grant DUE-0127310.