Documentation:Course Design Intensive/Facilitators Guidebook/Day 1 Learning Plan

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Preparation before Day 1
  • Readings:
  • Case Study Response - Read the instructions on our wiki page, Case Studies on Learner Centered Teaching, and respond on the associated discussion page
  • Download the CDI Workbook and complete Part A (bring the document and your work to the workshop).
  • Virtual Introduction - Please briefly introduce yourself to your cohort in advance of Day 1 of the CDI. Find the discussion thread on this wiki page--note that you need to be logged into the wiki to see and post to this thread ('Login' button is on the top left of the wiki page).



Day 1 Learning Outcomes

Theme: Building a Context: Starting With the “Why”?

Essential Question for Day 1: Why might students care about my course?'

The CDI focuses on the application of the backward design approach. On Day 1 you will understand how "big ideas" may be useful in guiding the design of your course. You will work in design feedback groups to offer and integrate feedback on course plans in progress. By the end of day 1, you should be able to:

  • Apply the backward design concept to the design of your course
  • Articulate "big ideas" for your course
  • Integrate learner-centered considerations into your course design
  • Prioritize course level learning that aligns with your "big ideas"


Sue & Gilian - 30 minutes

  • CDI Schedule
  • CDI Outcomes
  • Wiki & Resources (necessary vs. optional)
  • CDI Workbook
  • Pre-Survey - Diversity in the room
  • Design Feedback Groups
  • Burning questions about course design (parking lot + Wiki discussion board)

Introductions & Table Discussions

9:30 - 9:40 with Sue

Discussion: Learner-Centered Approaches and Course Design

Purpose: To activate prior knowledge and share experience related to the concepts of learner-centered approaches and course design, introduced through the pre-work.

Take a few moments to introduce yourselves to your table mates.

Then spend a few minutes discussing the pre-work:

  • What did you find most useful? most interesting? or piqued your curiosity?
  • What burning questions do you have about course design or a learner-centred approach?

Add your questions to the "Parking Lot", using the sticky notes.

Learner Centered Approach

9:45-10:50 with Sue

Purpose: to introduce key concepts related to a learner centered approach, learner centred teaching and learner centred course design.

Case Studies activity: Arrange yourselves in groups of 3-4. Each group will debrief one of the case studies.

Using the online responses on the wiki to help you, discuss & document:

  • What characteristics of learner-centered teaching are highlighted in the example?
  • How would you adapt it to make it more learner-centred? (and why?)

You must log-in to the wiki to view the discussion. Here are the original instructions:

  • What characteristics of learner-centered teaching/course design are highlighted in your example. Consider:
  • How does it engage students in the hard, messy work of learning?
  • In what ways is explicit skill instruction included?
  • What opportunities do students have to reflect on what they are learning and how they are learning it?
  • How does it tap into student motivation by giving them some control over the learning processes?
  • How does it encourage collaboration? ; and
  • What would you change/adapt to make it more learner centered (if changes are necessary)?

Design Response Groups: Context and Learners

11:00-12:00 pm Gillian to introduce, then move into Design Response Groups

Key Question: What factors influence the design of your course?

Group Guidelines: purpose of the design response groups

Get Acquainted:

  • Introduce yourself (name, dept, course)
  • What are the important contextual factors of your course that you’d like to share with the group that will help us when we give feedback? (from Part A of your CDI Workbook)
  • Take between now and noon to add/modify your Workbook. Is there any new information that you'd like to add?


1:00-4:30 pm

Design For Understanding

1:00-2:00 pm with John & Gillian

Why We Need a Why

John (20 min)

Purpose: to offer a bridge between learner centered approach and an afternoon of "big" thinking about your course.

What do you hope endures for students long after your course is over?

  • What's the "why" of your course?
  • Why should students take it - why should they care about what you are teaching?
  • What's the real "why" of your discipline?

Make a few notes on these questions to come back to later in the day. </div>

Backward Design, Big Ideas & Essential Questions

1:20 - 2:00 with Gillian

Purpose: to introduce the backward design framework and key concepts related to designing for understanding.

Required Resources:

You will be working in table groups to develop your understanding of key concepts.

Plan Your Course: Big Ideas, Enduring Understanding, and Essential Questions

2:00 - 2:35 pm with Gillian

Independent work: Identify your big ideas, enduring understanding, and essential questions

This is your opportunity to identify the big ideas, enduring understandings, and essential questions relevant to your course.


You may want to revisit your response to the Bridge In Visioning Activity at the start of the afternoon.

Optional Pair up: If you finish early, pair up or in a group of 3, share your big ideas and essential questions. Help one another to refine those.

BREAK : 10 minutes

Setting Priorities: Course Mapping Activity

2:45-4:00pm Gillian to introduce, then move into Design Response Groups

Purpose: to offer a non-linear way to prioritize what learners will need to understand, know, do, be aware of in order to grapple with those big ideas and essential questions.

Brainstorm your course using concept mapping

Starting from your big ideas, enduring understanding, and essential questions - work out from there (in concept map fashion) to identify:

  • what concepts will students need to know in order to grapple with the big ideas and essential questions?
  • what will students need to do/ practice/ develop/work with/value in order to sufficiently learn those concepts.
  • How do concepts connect?
  • Where do priorities emerge?

After concept mapping, share your draft with a peer. Take turns sharing your map. Purpose: to explain to someone else how your course concepts map onto the Big Ideas and Essential Questions (helping you refine your priorities for learning)

  • Ask your partner: Where did you start? What is your big idea? What are the enduring understandings? What are the essential questions?
  • What concepts will students need to grapple with the Big Idea, Enduring Understandings, & Essential Questions?
  • What will students need to do/practice/develop/work with/value in order to learn those concepts?
  • How do the concepts connect?
  • Do priorities emerge? (enduring understandings, important to know/do, worth being familiar with).

Debrief and Feedback

4:00-4:30 pm with Sue

  • Re-cap of Day 1
  • Day 2 homework
  • Brief overview of Day 2 and Day 3
  • Revisit burning questions, Parking lot, Muddiest Point
  • wiki page discussion board

Feedback to team

  • At the end of Day 1 of CDI, I am feeling ...
    • Enter your top three one-word answers here:
    • Using code: 41 43 39

Homework for Day 2


1. Using the work you did on the concept map, fill in columns 1 and 2 of the “Priorities chart” of the CDI Workbook.

2. Drawing from your concept mapping activity and the Priorities Chart, create course-level learning outcomes. See Learning Outcomes section of your CDI Worbook for suggestions on how to create course-level learning outcomes. These resources may also be helpful:

3. Share up to 4 course-level learning outcomes in this Google spreadsheet (first two columns only) before 9 am on Day 2 of the CDI.

Day 1 Resources

Course Design

  • CDI Workbook. You can choose to use the document in either Google Docs or MS Word:


Online Course Design

Alternate Course Design Planning Approaches

  • Concept Maps

Learning Centered Practice

Learning Outcomes

Belonging, Diversity and Inclusion

Universal Design

  • Universal Design - UBC-O resource to help faculty with principles that can assist in designing inclusive speeches, presentations, and lectures.

Group Work

Expert-Novice Thinking



  • Consultation related to the selection and use of learning technology to help you meet learning outcomes:


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