Designing or Redesigning a Program to Integrate Geoscience and Societal Issues
Participants in the workshop Programs that Bring Together Geoscience and Sustainability discussed the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities of program design and implementation. We present here resources generated from these discussions in the context of a strategy for designing a new degree program or redesigning an existing program based on the "backward design" philosophy advocated for course design (Wiggins and McTighe, 2005) described in detail in the On the Cutting Edge course design tutorial).
1. Set program-level learning goals/outcomes.
2. Consider your assessment options.
Once you have a list of program-level learning goals and outcomes, the process of program assessment becomes straightforward (though not necessarily easy). Assessment is a necessity, not only to satisfy institutional requirements, but also to evaluate whether your program is accomplishing what it is intended to accomplish, thus satisfying you, your colleagues, and potential employers of your graduates.
3. Look at what other programs are doing.
4. Select courses that contribute to your program goals, and do a gap analysis.
Begin by taking an inventory of existing courses, perhaps in several departments on your campus. Can you build a strong program from existing courses? If not, what new courses will you need to develop?
5. (Re)design courses to provide the kinds of experiences you want your students to have.
The success of your program rests on the collective success of your courses. Consider how you will infuse your learning goals into your program at the level of individual courses.