Introduction to Course Design Using InTeGrate Materials

Thursday, Friday 8:30am-11:30am Lindley: 307


Tara Holmberg, Northwestern Connecticut Community College
Participants will explore InTeGrate Modules as they develop or redesign their course, using principles of backward design and best practices. Educators will work together to develop their materials and leave with a working course outline ready to be implemented in the classroom! All educators are welcome; early-career faculty and graduate students are especially encouraged to attend. Please bring a laptop to this workshop.


Real world applications of science, especially those that pertain to sustainability concepts, can engage students in learning and help them make connections between course material and real applications. Understanding sustainability concepts requires skills in interdisciplinary reasoning and knowledge as well as systems thinking, which are also critical to success in scientific pursuits as well as in other content areas such as the social sciences.

The Interdisciplinary Teaching about Earth for a Sustainable Future (InTeGrate) modules and courses provide a data-rich, peer-reviewed, and classroom-tested collection of teaching materials based on tackling real-world problems. InTeGrate modules have been applied in introductory, upper-level, major, non-major, content, interdisciplinary, traditional, and online courses. During the workshop, we will explore and analyze these modules and how the can be adopted or adapted for designing or redesigning a course of the participants' choosing.

By framing a course from a birds-eye-view, the instructor can look at the course from a broader perspective rather than focusing on specific content and activities. Further, employing a backward design approach the instructor can better align the goals, assessments, and teaching materials to achieve the desired course outcomes, A portion of the workshop will be working individually and collaboratively on a course using backwards design principles and incorporating InTeGrate outcomes.

Finally, this workshop will explore strengthening assessments as a way of gaining information on student learning and determining if the intended learning outcomes were met. Typically, this has meant quizzes and exams (summative assessments), but learning happens continually, and summative assessments may miss these opportunities to understand where our students are as they tie together concepts. Formative assessments can measure learning through multiple modalities and provide insight into students' understanding of the material as they build conceptual understanding. Participants will be asked to explore and discuss one or two InTeGrate modules in collaborative groups as an example of the formative versus summative assessments and how they might be modified to fit the participants' courses.

Workshop Program »

Target Audience

The target audience for this workshop is any instructor teaching in the life or geosciences interested in incorporating interdisciplinary earth science concepts into their courses. Specifically, whether looking to develop a new course or redesign an existing course, participants will use backwards design and principles of formative vs summative assessment strategies to frame a syllabus/overview ready for implementation. All participants should bring course materials to build from/redesign as well as a laptop or similar device. We will work in a cooperative environment to develop collaborative spaces. This workshop is suited for all instructors, particularly those at 2Y and 4Y colleges, early-career faculty, and graduate students.


As a result of this workshop, participants should be able to:
  • Identify the wide variety of interdisciplinary topics available to participants through InTeGrate;
  • Analyze and evaluate various InTeGrate modules as they apply to a given life science or geoscience course, including discussing possible adaptations that can be made to fit a variety of courses;
  • Demonstrate use of backwards design through development of course goals and outcomes;
  • Create or revise a draft course syllabus/overview implementing one or more InTeGrate materials;
  • Identify formative and summative assessments using InTeGrate modules as models.


Each day will include an introduction to the topic(s) for the day, previews of select InTeGrate modules, collaborative activities designed to make participants familiar with key concepts, sharing ideas about how to approach specific tasks, participants working on materials for their own classes, and a final opportunity for reflection about the morning's tasks.

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