Teach the Earth > Course Design > Workshop 05 > Online Workshop > Assignments

Assignments for Designing Effective and Innovative Courses in the Geosciences


Assignments are listed below in reverse chronological order, with the most recent assignment at the top. We will be posting workshop assignments as they are developed.

Online Course Design Tutorial :: Email List Archive :: Discussion Forum

Assignment #10 (final assignment): due by 8 pm EDT on Thursday, June 23

  • Go to the Cutting Edge Goals/Syllabus data base submission form, and submit your course information plus the goals that you have developed for your course. In the fall, when you have your syllabus done, I will send instructions for how to modify your initial submission to include your syllabus and any changes you have made in goals.
  • Your final posting for the on-line tutorial will be the current, revised version of your course plan plus a revised outline for one activity or assignment that uses one of the teaching strategies that you learned about during the online workshop and that provides students with practice in one of the overarching goals of your course. Although we will not formally work with Part 2.4: Assessing Student Learning, you may find this section of the tutorial useful as you prepare the revised activity outline for your final posting.
  • We will use one of the existing discussion threadspools for your final posting. Go to the Assignment/activities discussion, and start a new thread entitled "Your Name: final posting". Incorporate any revisions you have made based on comments from leaders and other participants. As before, be sure that you include the boilerplate about your course. You may post your revised course plan and revised activity/assignment outline either as an attachment or directly in your posting.
  • Please also take the time to read everyone's postings and offer suggestions over the next week.
  • In mid-August, we will contact you via the email list and ask you to post your progress on developing your course. When you have finished your syllabus, we will ask you to add it to your submission to the Goals/Syllabus data base.

Assignment #9: due by 8 pm EDT on Monday, June 20

  • Go to Part 2.2: Exploring Teaching Strategies, download the worksheet, and complete tasks 2.2a and b in the tutorial. For Task 2.2a, you may have already done the learning styles inventory. If so, just dig out your results and proceed.
  • Assignment 2.2b asked you to go to your course plan and add teaching strategies to specific topics, along with outlines of ideas for assignments or activities using those strategies for actively engaging students. Select one or two of those ideas that use one or more of the teaching strategies that you explored in this section of the tutorial.
  • Go to the Assignments/activities discussion forum. Create a new thread with the subject "Your Name: Draft activity", and write a brief description of your plan for the assignment(s) or activity(ies) and how it fits into your course. Please choose something new, an idea that was catalyzed by this workshop, rather than describing something that you already do. If you would like feedback on anything in particular, please let us know.

Assignment #8: due by 8 pm EDT on Thursday, June 16

  • Go to the Discussion Forum: Developing a Course Plan.
  • Read what people have posted about their course plans, and read any comments already made by the facilitators and other participants.
  • Assignment #7 asked people to request feedback on a particular aspect of their course plan. Please provide feedback, and offer any other suggestions that you have for ways that the course can provide students practice in achieving the goals.
  • If you would like some "tree-shaking", send an e-mail to one of the facilitators to initiate an e-mail conversation about content and goals or to set up a phone consultation.

Assignment #7: due by 8 pm EDT on Monday, June 14

  • Go to Part 2.1: Developing a Course Plan in the Context of Goals and Content Topics, download the worksheet, and complete task 2.1 in the tutorial. You may work either with your whole course or with a portion of your course.
  • Go to the Discussion Forum: Developing a Course Plan. Create a new thread with the subject "Your Name: Course Plan". In this thread, enter the usual boiler plate (or just copy it from your previous thread) plus the specified aspects of Task 2.1:
    • Your course title
    • Your name and institution
    • Number of students in the course
    • Course level (e.g., intro, required course for majors, upper level course)
    • Prerequisites, if any, and whether your course serves as a prerequisite for other courses.
    • An aspect of Task 2.1 that you would like feedback on.
    • If you would like to upload your worksheet so that the one of us can look at all of the work you have done on this assignment and provide more detailed feedback, click on "Include a file with this post" on the discussion page.


Assignment #6: due by 8 pm EDT on Thursday, June 9

  • Go to the Discussion Forum: Choosing Content to Achieve Overarching Goals.
  • In reading over the initial posts on content topics, it's clear that one of the big challenges most people are facing is connecting the overarching goals to content topics. One way to do this is to consider how you might have students practice the goal(s) you have set in the context of each of the content topics and related content items. In fact, we'll have you do this explicitly when we ask you to develop a course plan.
  • In order to prepare everyone for the task of putting together a course plan where goals and content are explicitly tied, we'd like you to do the following:
    • Read the initial draft of choosing content posted by each of the participants, and read any comments already made by the facilitators and other participants.
    • Offer suggestions for how the course might provide practice for students in one of the goals set for the course in the context of the content that the person has listed for a particular section of the course.
  • If you would like some "tree-shaking", send an e-mail to one of the facilitators to initiate an e-mail conversation about content and goals or to set up a phone consultation.

Assignment #5: due by 8 pm EDT on Monday, June 6

  • Start by revising your overarching goals, taking into account the comments that you received on the discussion forum and what you learned from reading the comments written about other people's goals.
  • Go to Part 1.3: Setting Ancillary Skills Goals, download the worksheet, and complete task 1.3 in the tutorial.
  • Go to Part 1.4: Choosing Content to Achieve Overarching Goals, download the worksheet, and complete task 1.4 in the tutorial.
  • Go to the Discussion Forum: Choosing Content to Achieve Overarching Goals. Create a new thread with the subject "Your Name: Content Goals". In this thread, enter the following (or just copy it from your previous thread):
    • Your course title
    • Your name and institution
    • Number of students in the course
    • Course level (e.g., intro, required course for majors, upper level course)
    • Prerequisites, if any, and whether your course serves as a prerequisite for other courses.
    • What you have written for Task 1.4 in the tutorial, including your revised overarching goals.

Assignment #4: due by 8 pm EDT on Wednesday, June 1

  • Go to the Discussion Forum: Setting Overarching Goals.
  • Read the initial draft of overarching goals set by each of the participants for their courses, and read the comments made by the facilitators. Because of the Memorial Day weekend, some facilitators will not have had a chance to comment over the holiday. Facilitator reactions will be posted by the end of business on Tuesday, May 31. Please wait until Tuesday night or Wednesday morning to read all of the responses before making the following post.
  • In a post that you add to your own goals thread, answer the following:
    • What insights have you gained about setting overarching goals from reading the other participants' goals and the facilitator comments?
    • What revisions would you make in your initial statement of overarching goals for your own course?
    • If you would like some "tree-shaking", send an e-mail to one of the facilitators to initiate an e-mail conversation about goals or to set up a phone consultation.

Assignment #3: due by 8 pm EDT on Friday, May 27

  • Go to Part 1.2: Setting Overarching Goals, download the worksheet, and complete tasks 1.2a, 1.2b, and 1.2c in the tutorial.
  • Go to the Discussion Forum: Setting Overarching Goals. Create a new thread with the subject "Your Name: Goals 1". In this thread, enter the following:
    • Your course title
    • Your name
    • Your institution
    • Number of students in the course
    • Course level (e.g., intro, required course for majors, upper level course)
    • Prerequisites, if any
    • Whether your course serves as a prerequisite for other courses and, if so, which ones.
    • Any other context or constraint information that you would like us to know about so that we can provide better feedback to you on your overarching goals.
    • the first draft of the overarching goals from Task 1.2c. Please paste these into your post. Do not send them as an attachment

Assignment #2: due by 8 pm EDT on Wednesday, May 25


Assignment #1: due by 8 pm EDT on Monday, May 23

  • As indicated in the online workshop introduction, we will be using the new Cutting Edge Online Course Design Tutorial for this workshop. Please start by reading the Tutorial Introduction and the Tutorial Overview
  • Go to Part 1.1: Articulating Course Context and Constraints, download the worksheet, and complete tasks 1.1a, 1.1b, and 1.1c in the tutorial. Record your answers on the worksheet, and save the worksheet. You will not post this assignment, but you will need it for Friday's assignment.
  • Go to the Discussion Forum: General Topics Related to Teaching and Course Design, and start one new discussion thread. Your entry must have two parts:
    • Part I: Choose a topic or question related to course design, teaching strategies, challenges, or course context/constraints that you would like to see discussed on the forum. Browse the topics already posted, and be sure to post a topic that does not have an existing thread. Be sure that your topic line is short but makes it clear what the topic of the thread is.
    • Part II: As part of the same initial post (not as a separate post), write a paragraph about yourself as an introduction to the rest of the workshop participants.

Comments or suggestions

Although we have run a face-to-face version of this workshop many times, this is the first iteration of both the tutorial and the online workshop. We're quite sure they're not perfect!! If something is not working for you, or if you have a suggestion for how to make the on-line workshop function better, please send an e-mail to Barb Tewksbury.


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