Documentation:Course Design Intensive/Facilitators Guidebook/Day 3 Learning Plan

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Pre-work for Day 3

Day 3 will be about integrating learning activities to support the outcomes you have defined for learners and the evidence they are expected to produce. You will also be thinking about potential "learning pitfalls" that your students may experience and identify strategies for addressing those that you can incorporate into your course design plan.

1. Identify a learning challenge or pitfall that students may face in the course you are designing for them. In your opinion, what are the factors that contribute to this learning challenge? Identify 3 key words that represent this challenge. Be prepared to submit this (in writing) on Day 3 so that they can be themed into groupings of "like" challenges. *

2. Describe your course in a way that will inspire your learners (in preparation for writing your syllabus). Write it out in order to share. Keep it short and inspirational. Be sure to include the big idea that you are working with and any course level learning outcomes that you have developed.


3. Begin to consider a sequence for how your course will unfold - what should come first/last/in between. - note: the course sequence planning guide (see below) may help you with this.


Day 3 Learning Outcomes

Theme: Exploring the “How”: Possibilities for Engagement

Essential Question for Day 3: How do I create an environment that supports the learning I intend?

  • Explore examples of learning activities and teaching strategies that have potential for addressing identified learning challenges.
  • Articulate a course description to inspire and inform learners.

By the end of day 3, participants will have:

  • Shared a learning activity/strategy with the group, and learned about several others that could be adapted to fit your context.
  • Adapted a learning activity that has potential for addressing your identified challenge and aligned it with learning outcomes and assessment processes.
  • Articulated a brief learner centered course description for a syllabus.
  • Offered and integrated feedback on course design plans in progress.


Welcome and Review

9:00 - 9:30 am

  1. Day 3: Agenda and Outcomes
  2. Recap of Day 2: Addressing Formative feedback with Judy
  3. Putting It All Together.pdf
  • Key Concepts from Course Design (Using the Backward Design Model) & How They Fit Together.

The "Easy Button" and its Impact on Learning

Cindy - 9:30-10:00 am

Purpose: to explore the perils (and some of the research) related to easiness and learning.

Individual response and group debrief: Thinking test: exploring systems 1 and 2 (Kahneman): It's a surprise!

Debrief results. Question:

  • what might be the implications of this for your course design?


  • Causes and consequences of Cognitive Ease (Thinking Fast and Slow, p. 60)

Follow-up if time permits:

  • Veritasium's misconceptions about temperature - video

Exploring Active Learning

10:00 - 10:15 am with Cindy

Purpose: Show examples (linked to instructional intentions) related to active learning (a.k.a. alternatives to the "easy button").


Active learning engages students in the process of learning through activities and/or discussion in class, as opposed to passively listening to an expert. It emphasizes higher-order thinking and often involves group work. Freeman, et al - in large meta-analysis of undergraduate STEM education courses.


Possibilities for active, engaged learning - example tour:

10:15 to 10:30 am BREAK

Activity: Addressing a Learning Challenge: Modified Jigsaw

10:30 - 11:30 am: Sue to introduce - all facilitators to support. working with groups - exploring resources/ sharing activities in mixed groups.

  • Participants to bring challenges to the day - Sue and Judy theme the challenges to form groups.
Addressing a Learning Challenge: Group & Independent Work

This activity is complex. By the end of it, you will be able to:

  • find examples of learner-centered, active, constructivist approaches to designing a learning environment to further develop your course design.
  • align a learning activity with a learning outcome, evidence and assessment method.
  • propose a rationale for why your chosen activity shows promise in addressing the learning challenge you have identified.


Step 1: (20 minutes) Join your assigned group (based on the themes identified in the challenges you submitted). Present the student-learning challenges to each other. Then, independently research activities that may help to address the root of your defined learning challenge. Choose a promising activity to help you address the learning challenge you have identified.


10:40 - 10:50 am

Step 2: (10 minutes) Propose a rationale for your selection and get feedback from one of your groupmates on your rationale. Take a few minutes to integrate the feedback into your activity.

Step 3: (20 minutes) Form a new group (based on colour coding): each participant to share their active learning strategy/activity by describing (in a maximum 3 minute presentation to your group):

  • What is the learning challenge you're aiming to address?
  • What teaching strategy/learning activity seems promising in helping you address this challenge?
  • Why did you choose this activity?

Step 4: (10 minutes) Align your activity with one of the learning outcomes in your course plan. Adjust learning outcomes and assessment methods as necessary. Assess the fit with your enduring understandings - how does the activity support broader learning goals?

Resources on Teaching Strategies to Address Learning Challenges

Reflection on a Course Design: Patrick Walls (part 2)

11:30 am - 12:15 pm

Patrick will talk about his newly designed course from the perspective of teaching it. What would he like to revisit in terms of the design? What helped him? What helped the students to learn?

Reflection and preparation for Design Feedback Groups in the afternoon

Reflection: Think about where you are in your course design and any aspects you need feedback on this afternoon. Think about what you need to advance your course deign process.


12:15 - 1:00 pm


Design feedback groups: Course Design Plans

1:00 - 2:50 pm

Learner centered syllabus discussion

Bart, Mary (2015) A Learner Centered Syllabus Helps Set the Tone For Learning - Faculty Focus

  • Describe your course from a learner centered perspective (in preparation for writing your syllabus). Write it out in order to share. Keep it short and inspirational.
  • Seek feedback (design group): Do you get a feel for the course from the description? What aspects make it interesting/inspiring? What might you change/adjust?.
  • Discussion (design group) What was challenging about writing a learner centered course description? How might you involve students in this activity?

Opportunity for feedback Each participant will share their work in progress in any of the following areas:

  • learner centered course description
  • course design plan (in progress)
  • learning challenge they have been working with

as well as provide peer feedback within their design feedback group (10-15 minutes each)


3:00 - 4:00 pm

  • Large group close (Question: What is one significant idea/question/next step [choose one] that you are taking away from this CDI?)
  • Next steps (CTLT professional growth resources - see CDI Site, Follow-up Section)
  • Summative feedback for 3-day CDI

Next Steps


You have likely assembled many of the foundational pieces you will need to finalize your course design for the first implementation.

These are a few remaining tasks which will require your attention:

  • Determine a grading strategy that reflects the entire scope of the learning activities and intended outcomes.
  • Develop the sequence of your course, identifying:
  • themes/focus for each week
  • what will learners be expected to do on their own outside of class?
  • what will learners do together during the class?
  • what sorts of resources, readings will learners need access to to help them with the weekly work?
  • Use the Course Sequence Planning Guide to help you. Copy as a Google Doc or download as a word doc.
  • fine tune your design to account for common learning challenges (from today's activity)
  • prepare the course syllabus
  • determine what sort of feedback you will need (from your students or elsewhere) in order for you to assess the first implementation and prepare for iteration.

Refer to the Resource lists from each day to support your remaining work. Best of luck on implementing your course design!

Day 3 Resources

Note: Core resources for Day 3 are in bold.

Group Work

Critical Thinking

Blended and Flipped Classrooms

  • Blended and Online Learning - excellent overview and resources: Vanderbilt U - Centre for Teaching.
  • UBC's Flexible Learning Initiative: Flexibytes: a UBC curated collection of news stories related to teaching practice.

Syllabus Design

Video and Multimedia

Expert-Novice Thinking

General Teaching Resources


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


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