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

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Prepare 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. Read: *Bart, Mary (2015) A Learner Centered Syllabus Helps Set the Tone For Learning - Faculty Focus

  • Bring a copy of your course syllabus to the workshop on Day 3

2. 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, and write it on the cue card. Be prepared to submit the card on Day 3 so that they can be themed into groupings of "like" challenges. *

Additional information: Learning challenges or pitfalls may arise from (for example):

  • misconceptions about an aspect of the subject matter
  • faulty beliefs about learning
  • problems with attitude or motivation
  • lack of preparation

3. Spend some time exploring the resources on active learning. We've curated a resource list for you to begin (see Active Learning section). As you review the materials you might also want to ask yourself whether any of these strategies could help with the learning challenge you identified.

4. Identify the strategies/techniques you've used in the past, and those you are interested/considering using. Write 2 of the strategies you've used before on the RED cards. Write 2 of the strategies you're interested in using on the BLUE cards. Bring these cards to Day 3.

For Next Steps after the workshop, see the end of Day 3's plan.

What You'll Need for Day 3

  • Your CDI Working Guide and plans in progress
  • Your course syllabus
  • Your teaching/learning challenge written on the cue card
  • Your teaching/learning strategies you've used in the past (RED cards) and you're interested in using (BLUE cards)

Day 3 Learning Outcomes

Theme: Exploring the “How”: Possibilities for Engagement

Essential Question for Day 3: How do I design and/or select activities that support student learning?'

By the end of day 3, participants will have:

  • Shared a learning activity/strategy, and learned about several others that could be adapted to fit their context.
  • Described a learning activity to address an identified challenge.
  • Aligned a learning activity, course-level learning outcomes, and assessment for their course.
  • Offered and integrated feedback on course design plans in progress.
  • Appreciated the iterative nature of course design.


Welcome and Review

9:00 - 9:15 am with Isabeau

  • Day 3: Agenda and outcomes
  • Address formative feedback from Day 2
  • Parking lot

Reflection on a Course Design: Candice Rideout (part 2)

9:15 - 10:00 am

Candice will talk about her course from the perspective of teaching it.

Iterative Course Design

  • What are the implications for your course design process?


Exploring Active Learning

Judy introduces (all support ) - 10:15-11:00 am

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.

In this activity you'll have the opportunity to further develop your knowledge of active learning techniques.

Activity: Addressing a Learning Challenge: Modified Jigsaw

11:00 - 12:00 pm with Sue to introduce - all facilitators to support.

  • Participants to bring challenges to the day
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 color-group (based on the themes identified in the challenges you submitted).

  • Present the teaching/learning challenges to each other (briefly), in particular what you think the root of the problem is.
  • As a group, discuss what techniques/strategies/approach might help address the root of the defined learning challenge.
  • Choose a promising activity to help you address the learning challenge you have identified.

Step 2: (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 approach/technique/strategy seems promising in helping you address this challenge?
  • Why did you choose this activity?

Step 3: (20 minutes)

Document your plans. 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

  • Brickell, J. L., Porter, D. B., Reynolds, M. F., & Cosgrove, R. D., (1994). Assigning Students to Groups for Engineering Design Projects: A Comparison of Five Methods. Journal of Engineering Education, 7, 259-262. (From Brickell…. “allowing students to select their own groups results in poorest attitudes about course, their instructors, the project, and their classmates”)
  • Fiechtner, S. B., & Davis, E. A. (1985). Why some groups fail: A survey of students' experiences with learning groups. The Organizational Behavior Teaching Review, 9(4), 75-88.

Active Learning example tour:


12:00 - 1:00 pm


Learner-Centered Syllabus: Putting it all together

1:00 - 1:30 pm with Judy

On your own, Review:
  1. Catherine Rawn, PSYC102:
  2. Candice Rideout's course:
  3. Gail Hammond, FNH250:
  • Identify elements that you may adapt for your own courses and begin revisions to your syllabus.

Additional Resource: File:How to Make your Syllabus more Learner-centered.pdf (A draft)

Course Design Plans: Working on your own or Opportunity for feedback

1:30 - 3:00 pm with Isabeau

Practice completing the alignment of your course level learning outcomes, assessment, and learning strategies. If you wish and time allows, pair up and share.


3:00 - 4:00 pm with Sue & Isabeau & Judy

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

  • Fine tune your design to account for common learning challenges (from today's activity)
  • Use the Course Sequence Planning table on page 9 of your CDI Working Guide to help you 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?
  • Determine a grading strategy that reflects the entire scope of the learning activities and intended outcomes.
  • 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.
  • Describe your course in a way that will inspire your learners, in preparation for writing your syllabus. 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. Additional resources to help you write your learner-centered syllabus:

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

Day 3 Resources

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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