Initial Publication Date: August 25, 2006

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.

Why use our course design workshop format?

Participant discussion at course design workshop
Ours is not the only approach to course design, and many other viable approaches to course design exist. Why do we think our approach is a useful one to consider?

We know that our course design strategy works. We have successfully run course design workshops for hundreds of undergraduate geoscience faculty through On the Cutting Edge. Our survey data and participant comments indicate not only that our relatively short, intensive workshop is successful in helping faculty design or re-design a particular course, but also that our workshops have changed participants' thinking about course design and have had a lasting and far-reaching impact on other courses that our participants teach.

Our workshop structure allows faculty to make significant progress toward course design or redesign over a period of four days and to leave the workshop feeling confident in being able to carry through with the plan.

Our workshop structure helps overcome faculty resistance.We have been very successful at engaging the typical faculty member who has had no course work in education, who has little familiarity with the literature about pedagogy, and who is suspicious of (or perhaps even hostile to!) workshops full of education jargon.

Our course design philosophy works well in a variety of workshop formats.In addition to running four-day workshops for geoscience faculty, we have had several years of success with adapting the workshop for an audience of mixed disciplines and with workshop experiences of various lengths. At the Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER) 2004 Summer Institute, for example, our session on course design was the highest rated session in the entire five-day Institute. We have also had a year of experience with an on-line version of the workshop using our course design tutorial.

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©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.