Course Design

Course design is often not by the textbook, which is usually just a resource. In thinking about course design, consider first what you want students to leave the course knowing, being able to do, etc. that they didn't know or couldn't do before they took the course. What is MOST essential to include? What is the most logical means of developing that essential information, considering student preparation, experience, etc. How will you build in engaging, informative activities that promote learning?

Good course design is fundamental no matter if you are designing a flipped, blended, online or entirely face-to-face course. It's important to make sure that your objectives or learning goals are written in a measurable way from a student perspective; the activities and technologies you select are appropriate for your objectives; and assessments allow you to determine if and how well students are learning what you want them to. These elements - your objectives, activities and assessments - need to work together and should all be aligned. Instructional design support is available to all St. Thomas faculty through STELAR.

Writing/Revising Learning Objectives

As you write new objectives or revise existing objectives consider whether your objectives fall into a cognitive, affective or psychomotor domain. Typically most learning in higher education falls into the cognitive domain.  Bloom's Taxonomy is among the most widely used taxonomies for the cognitive domain of knowedge and a Google search provides any number of resources developed by other universities on ways to write learning objectives for the cognitive domain. Some resources we find especially useful when writing or revising learning objectives include Vanderbilt's Center for Teaching concise guide on using Bloom's taxonomy and this brief tutorial from the University of Colorado.

Do you have learning outcomes in your syllabus? Then STELAR's Learning Outcomes Inspirator is for you! The Inspirator will guide you to write learning outcomes that are measurable and grounded in Bloom’s Taxonomy, leading to clearer expectations and a greater chance of success for learners.

Please visit and bookmark start using the Inspirator today!

Universal Design

Universal Design for Learning is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn. UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone--not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs. --National Center on Universal Design for Learning

The National Center on Universal Design for Learning has a wealth of resources on UDL including guidelines and examples and the CAST web site has excellent resources on Universal Design for Learning. The Center for Faculty Development collaborates with STELAR, Disability Resources, and the St. Thomas Libraries UDL workshops for St. Thomas faculty.