Learning-Centred Approaches to Course Planning

Intentional Teaching: An Approach to Course Design

Constructive alignment   is a learning-centred approach to course design that asks instructors to start at the end, i.e., what do you want your students to know and be able to demonstrate at the end of your course? "Teaching and assessment methods" are then "designed to best achieve those outcomes and to assess the standard at which they have been achieved" (Biggs, 2014). This backwards, intentional approach is thoughtful, informed, and deliberate, and should result in aligned, authentic, accessible courses.

Learning Outcomes: What Would You Like Students to Learn?

Learning outcomes   are statements that indicate what students will know, value, or be able to do by the end of the course. They are written from the students' perspective and must be assessable. As such, they specify things that can be observed, that are public, and not activities or states that are internal to students' minds. To access University of Windsor approved course learning outcomes, visit the University's Curriculum Mapping Aid (CuMA) website  .

Assessments: How Will You Know Students Have Met the Learning Outcomes?

Next, how might you know whether students have reached the learning outcomes of your course? Effective assessments should be aligned with course learning outcomes, providing students an opportunity to demonstrate their learning. To learn more about aligning assessments, designing authentic assessments, and using Blackboard to assess students, visit the section on Assessment and Grading.

Learning Activities: How Will You Guide Students Through the Learning Process?

After you've decided what you would like students to learn – and to what degree – consider which teaching and delivery methods, and activities, best guide this learning. These can include synchronous and/or asynchronous classes with lectures, case studies, reflection, group work, discussions, and so on. Resources include:

  • Lecturing Strategies
  • Synchronous and Asynchronous Lectures
  • Active Learning
  • Facilitating Discussions
  • Online Tools for Interactivity

Time Management: How Will You Structure Class Time?

Now that you've identified goals, considered content and teaching methods, and identified assessments, consider using a lesson plan to help organize individual classes, and to ensure you have allotted enough time for each task. While there are a number of models and templates, a lesson plan generally consists of the following parts:

  • Bridge-In: Hook your students with a quote, image, story, slide, fact, etc.
  • Learning Objectives: What are the learning goals for this particular class?
  • Content/Activities: This is the core of your lesson and could include mini-lectures and engagement activities like group work, discussion, etc.
  • Post-Assessment: This can be informal using classroom technology like Mentimeter or Kahoot to gauge whether students achieved your goals for this class.

Use, or adapt, one of the included lesson plan templates   to help organize your class.