Innovative Course Design Seminar
Participants in the Innovative Course Design Seminar explore inclusive, evidence-based instructional design practices and apply these concepts to the creation of a learner-centered syllabus. Participants use the principles of backward design and inclusive teaching to develop context-specific learning objectives, aligned and scaffolded assessments, and a range of engaging activities across formats and contexts within a single course.
For those enrolled in the Teaching Development Program (TDP), this seminar satisfies the Advanced Track seminar requirement.
Columbia University graduate students and postdocs who are interested in…
- Exploring the application of inclusive teaching, universal design for learning, and evidence-based instruction to a variety of course contexts and formats
- Discussing the challenges and opportunities of rethinking norms and practices in service of learning, inclusion, and engagement
- Participating in a community of practice associated with teaching and learning
- Designing a syllabus for an introductory course in their discipline
Are you interested in designing a syllabus for a course to meet the teaching challenges of today and tomorrow? Are you approaching the job market and looking to demonstrate how you approach teaching within your discipline by creating a syllabus to submit with your materials? Apply to the Innovative Course Design Seminar to explore inclusive, evidence-based instructional design practices and create a learner-centered syllabus of your own design.
In this five-session seminar, participants apply the principles of backward design and inclusive teaching to develop context-specific learning objectives, aligned and scaffolded assessments, and a range of engaging activities that facilitate student learning across a range of course formats and contexts. This in-person seminar is presented as a learning community in which participants give and receive peer feedback on in- and out-of-class assignments as they work to develop their own innovative courses.
Participants who attend and participate across all five weeks and complete related activities receive a letter from CTL certifying successful completion that can be referenced on CVs and other descriptions of pedagogical preparation.
For graduate students enrolled in the Teaching Development Program (TDP), this seminar satisfies the Advanced Track seminar requirement.
Click on the toggles below to read the session descriptions. Completion of brief, online, self-directed modules are required ahead of each session.
Session 1: Student-Centered Course Objectives: Designing Significant Learning Experiences that Meet Students Where They Are
In week 1, learn the importance of starting with the end in mind. What do you want students to be able to know or do by the end of the course? What expectations do you have for students individually and collectively? How might each of these factors shape the climate of your course and, by extension, student learning? How are these expectations changed by the needs of online or remote learning? In this session, you will learn the importance of inclusive and evidence-based instructional design practices; apply the framework of backward design to your own disciplinary and course context; identify strategies to craft meaningful and accessible student learning objectives; discuss how to translate learning objectives into your teaching practices; and, engage with principles of inclusive teaching to consider how best to communicate your expectations to students in and beyond a course syllabus. Together, these ideas will support you in designing and communicating discipline- and context-specific learning objectives and in creating an inclusive learning environment that meaningfully engages all students in the learning process.
Session 2: Scaffolding Student Learning: Assessments and Feedback
In week 2, learn how to design assessments to help students make meaningful progress toward course learning objectives and give instructors insights into their learning. What supports will you give students to practice essential skills? What opportunities will you give students to demonstrate their progress toward the learning goals you defined in week 1? What rhythms and cycles of feedback might you engage to support students’ development? How can you (the instructor) obtain feedback on the efficacy of course activities and use such information to improve your teaching? This session will introduce you to three different types of assessments — diagnostic, formative, and summative. When used in tandem, these assessments help you to understand the strengths, experiences, and attitudes students bring to the classroom; to give students multiple opportunities to demonstrate knowledge and skills they acquire; and, to offer feedback for students and instructors alike about progress toward learning goals. At the end of this session, you will learn how students’ mindset and the quality and nature of feedback given combine to influence student performance in class, and how to leverage teaching and learning tools to improve feedback processes.
Session 3: Selecting Course Content and Engaging Students: Active Learning and Multiple Means of Engagement
In week 3, learn how to align in- and out-of-class activities and course content with learning goals and consider each through the lens of inclusive teaching. For example: What will you do in class (or in office hours) to meaningfully engage students in their own learning? How will you ensure that these activities are meaningful, relevant, and accessible to students? In this session, you will be introduced to a range of active learning techniques and research about the value of such practices for student learning. Together with peers, you will consider in- and out-of-class contexts for active learning and brainstorm how to facilitate activities to make them maximally accessible for all students.
Session 4: Critical Reflective Practice & Syllabus Design
In week 4, you will reflect on your work throughout the seminar and apply these insights to the creation of an innovative student-centered syllabus for a course in your discipline that fits the teaching and learning needs of today and the future. These insights will be operationalized through a series of activities that guide you through the process of integrating all elements in this seminar– learning objectives, assessments, activities, policies, resources, and other supports–into the design of a course syllabus. You will also reflect on your core beliefs about teaching and learning, consider how they have changed over the course of this seminar, and identify how you plan to change your own teaching practice as a result. At the conclusion of this seminar, you will be well-prepared to draft a syllabus of your own design and meaningfully present your intentionality as an instructor to a range of audiences.
Session 5: Learning Community Peer Review & Celebration
In week 5, you will reconvene with learning community colleagues for a final opportunity to share, receive feedback on, and celebrate your work in the seminar. Building on the core beliefs, instructional design practices, and syllabus draft generated over the previous four weeks, in week 5, you will have the opportunity to practice describing your course within a particular context (e.g., as an artifact for the academic job market, or to prospective students) and obtain supportive peer feedback through a structured process. The session will conclude with a final collective reflection, feedback on the seminar, and celebration of our collective insights and accomplishments.
- Discuss and apply the principles of inclusive teaching, universal design for learning, and evidence-based instruction
- Participate in a community of practice associated with teaching and learning at Columbia in order to realize the value of learning communities
- Design a syllabus for a course in your discipline.
The CTL is here for graduate students.
The Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning provides an array of support for graduate students in both their current and future teaching responsibilities.