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

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Prepare for Day 3

Continue working on aligning your learning outcomes and assessment plans.

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. Spend time exploring the resources on Teaching and Instructional Strategies (we've curated a resource list for you, here on the wiki, Day 3 Resources). As you explore the materials think about the types of learning activities that will support your learners, seeking alignment with your learning outcomes and assessment plans. Look at the instructions in the CDI Workbook to help you with this phase.

1. As you explore the resources, identify some strategies/techniques you've used in the past, and some you are interested/considering using. Write 2 of the strategies you've used before on the BLUE cards. Write 2 of the strategies you're interested in using on the YELLOW cards. Bring these cards to Day 3.

2. Update your course design plan, integrating your ideas for learning activities into Column 3 of your 3-column course plan. These ideas can be drafty at this point, and you will work on alignment of learning activities on Day 3.

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

4. Revisit your One-Sentence Challenge. Revise into a course description--describing 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.

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?'

On Day 3, you will adopt a teaching strategy that has potential for addressing your identified challenge and is aligned with learning outcomes and assessment processes. You will articulate a brief learner centered course description for a syllabus, and in design feedback groups offer and integrate feedback on this (the syllabus) as well as course design plans.

By the end of day 3, you will have:

  • Shared a learning activity/teaching strategy, and learned about several others that could be adapted to fit their context.
  • Aligned a learning activity/teaching strategy, course-level learning outcomes, and assessment for your course.
  • Appreciated the iterative nature of course design.


Welcome and Review

9:00 - 9:30 am with Gillian

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

Exploring Active Learning

Sue introduces (all support ) - 9:30 - 10:15 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 instructional strategies and active learning techniques.

Purpose: an opportunity to implement active learning strategies to promote learning.

Modified Gallery Walk / World Cafe:

Round 1 (15 minutes):

  • At each white board, invite a volunteer 'expert' (a person who contributed a blue card) to host the board
  • Rest of us choose a technique we'd like to learn more about
  • Discuss:
    • What is it? (Describe the technique/strategy...explain it)
    • How does it help support aspects of the human core: belonging, relevance, diversity of experience?
    • How did the 'expert' prepare?
    • How can we adapt it?
  • Jot your ideas down

Round 2 (15 minutes):

  • Everyone moves to a different technique (stay if you like; facilitators will act as 'experts' when needed)
  • Discuss:
    • What is it? (Describe the technique/strategy...explain it)
    • How did the 'expert' prepare?
    • How can we adapt it?
  • Jot your ideas down

Final Round

  • Everyone does a gallery walk and gets a chance to see the different strategies.

Work on Course Plans: Learning Activities & Alignment

10:15 - 11:00 am

Based on input from the active learning session, revise your ideas for learning activities, being mindful of alignment. This can be individual work, paired, or any other small group combination that allows you to progress on your course plans.

Reflections on a Course Design: John Vigna (part 2)

1:00 - 1:45 pm

John will talk about the alignment of his course, further iterations of the course, and his application of techniques learned in the CDI to other course design work.

Alignment of course plan

1:00 - 1:30 pm

Continue working on your course plan. We encourage you to pair up, or in a group of 3, to share your plan. Work on aligning your course level learning outcomes, assessment, and learning strategies. If necessary, refine your Big Ideas and Essential Questions.

Work on aligning your course level learning outcomes, assessment, and learning strategies.

a) If you pair up, ask your partner the following questions (and ask follow-up questions to clarify) [20 minutes - 10 minutes each]:

  • What are students "doing" that will support them in reaching the outcomes/assessment you have planned? [How are your learning activities aligned with your learning outcomes and assessment plans?]
  • Are your learning activities and assessment plans consistent within the domains of learning (e.g. cognitive - 'know', affective - 'appreciate', psychomotor - 'do')?
  • In what ways will the suggested learning activities support students in exploring/inquiring into the big idea?
  • Consider your student’s needs…. Do the activities promote social belonging? Do they bring relevance? How diverse are the activities?

Make sure you both have a turn to give and receive responses.

Revise your learning activities, as relevant, based on your reflections, discussion, and feedback.

Learner Centered Syllabus

1:30 - 2:00 pm with Sue

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

  • What are the differences between a traditional syllabus and a learner-centred syllabus?

At your table groups, share your course descriptions.

  • Seek feedback: Do you get a feel for the course from the description? What aspects make it interesting/inspiring? What might you change/adjust?
  • Table Discussion: What was challenging about writing a learner centered course description? How might you involve students in this activity?

Syllabus examples are included in "Next Steps". Review these after the workshop, when you begin working on your syllabus, for ideas you'd like to incorporate.

Showcase preparation

2:00-2:15 pm Isabeau to introduce

The showcase is an opportunity to share an aspect of your course plan (where you made changes) and receive feedback one last time from your peers. You will also listen to your peers' plans and provide feedback to them. For the showcase you will prepare a flipchart paper to describe an aspect of your course plan which has changed - you will have 2 minutes to introduce your ideas verbally to the group. The flipchart papers will be posted around the room and viewed during the gallery walk.

Ideas for this documentation include (but are not limited to) sharing:

  • major insights you've had with your course planning
  • an alignment example from your course plan (and share what's changed or new)
  • revisions to your 'One-sentence Challenge' or changes to your Course Description
  • something that you've changed or are thinking about differently

Showcasing course design plans: Opportunity for sharing

2:15 - 3:00 pm

Presentation order will be established. Each person has 2 minutes to introduce their flipchart. This will be followed by a 15-minute gallery walk to view the flipcharts on the walls.

  • Sticky notes will be provided--feel free to add feedback to your peers' as one final gift.

Fireside chat: parking lot debrief

3:00 - 3:30 pm with Gillian


3:30 - 4:15pm with Sue (and all)

  • Complete CDI Feedback survey
  • Next steps in your Course Plan (see Next Steps, below, as well as in your CDI Workbook)
  • Large group close (Question: What is your next step with your course?)

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 building out your learning plans and continue checking for alignment
  • Use the Course Sequence Planning table in your CDI Workbook 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?
  • Consider the diversity represented in your course content & perspectives. Your choice of course content and reading lists give students a sense of what perspectives are included in the class. Ideally, to promote belonging, a reading list would include authors of different identities and from a variety of backgrounds.
  • Consider the accessibility of your course. Examples include physical accessibility of your course and financial accessibility. Universal Design for Learning is an approach to consider accessibility.
  • 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.
  • Determine a grading strategy that reflects the entire scope of the learning activities and intended outcomes.

Syllabus: 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. Consider the tone of your syllabus and whether you want to include a Equity and Inclusivity Statement and/or a statement on Territory Acknowledgement.

Additional sample syllabi with learner-centered components:

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

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

Day 3 Resources

Teaching & Instructional Strategies

Blogs on Teaching

Active Learning :

Discipline-related Strategies

Expert-Novice Thinking

Group Work

  • 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.

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


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


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