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[T.E.L.L March Summary] Course (Re)Design

This post contributed by Sarah Bowers, Langara College and member of SCETUG. 
Janine Hirtz, elearning instructional support specialist at UBC Okanagan,  was our  T.e.l.l. presenter for March. Janine gave an informative overview of the Course (Re)Design Seminar for faculty at UBC-Okanagan. The seminar was implemented four years ago and is designed for UBC-Okanagan faculty to design and redesign courses. Janine explained the structure of the four-day seminar as well as a one-day “Just in time course design” seminar.
Janine explained that faculty need to apply to attend the seminar and one criterion is that they must be in the process of redesigning a course or designing a course for the first time. The seminar is led by an inter-disciplinary team of three or four is conducted over the course of four days. Modelling, guiding, reflecting, debriefing, and brainstorming activities are rotated amongst the team. The inter-disciplinary nature of the teams is key to the success of the seminar as it encourages faculty to think about alternative approaches rather than sticking to the norms of their own area. It also decreases the assumptions about expertise if senior and junior faculty members are participating together.
The seminar emphasizes aligning learning outcomes with teaching strategies and assessment. It is designed to be very hands-on and requires a commitment from the faculty member to attend fully for the entire four days.
 Following is a general breakdown of the 4 Day Course (Re)Design seminar:
Day 1 – focus on content including context and learner analysis and concept mapping emphasizing the danger of too much content. Other aspects include icebreakers to form a comfortable community within the seminar, reinforcing the commitment to the seminar –no ducking out for meetings!—as well as faculty presentations and feedback.
Day 2 – focus on learner and learning outcomes including learner domains (cognitive, psycho-motor, affective) as well as writing learning outcomes following the SWBAT (Students will be able to . . .) model and a discussion of Bloom’s taxonomy (revised) to articulate how to identify if students have achieved the learning outcomes. It is important to refer back to the concept mapping from the previous day.
Day 3 – focus on instructional strategies which the faculty are most motivated to learn. Important ideas include thinking about the best and worst classes they have taught or attended and what made them so. In addition, participants are encouraged to move to more active, student-centred learning of the outcomes that fit that model. One important question they are asked is “What are the students doing?” rather than focussing on what the teacher is doing.  Participants are encouraged to brainstorm different strategies such as lecture, discussions, debates, jigsaw exercises, demonstrations, think-pair-share etc.  Faculty then go back to the concept map and learning objectives to find teaching strategies that enable the students to meet the outcome.
Day 4 – focus on assessment with view to limitations e.g. class size, standard methods. Topics addressed are formative (ongoing assessment allowing revision and improvement by students with feedback to achieve learning outcomes) and summative assessment (requiring a grade) and educative (performative, hands-on testing).
Janine also reviewed JTCD (Just in time course design) – a one day seminar. In this seminar, there is not as much sharing or course activities and is helpful for faculty not ready for the four-day commitment.
Followup to the course (re)design seminar include drop-in sessions, ongoing support, consultation, and feedback. Overall, faculty are giving highly positive feedback about how the seminar has re-invigorated their teaching; many faculty now attend the seminar because former participants have recommended it.
Thank you so much, Janine.  The T.e.l.l. session was a very informative and useful insight into UBC-Okanagan’s course design seminar.


Recording of Janine’s Course (Re) Design session

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