NAGT > Professional Development > Workshops > (Re)Designing your Earth-related Course for Improved Student Learning > Program

Workshop Program

Friday, October 23

8:30 AM — Welcome and Introductions

Goals of the Workshop

  • use "backward design" to design a course
  • identify big ideas ("enduring understandings") and essential questions
  • articulate goals for student learning
  • articulate learning outcomes and design an assessment
  • design a learning activity based on research-based evidence on learning, engagement, motivation, and metacognition
  • align learning goals, assessments and instruction

Slides for "Identifying Course-Level Goals" (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 13.8MB Oct23 15)

8:45-9:00 AM — Course Design Considerations Warm-up

Think-Pair-Share Activity on a "significant learning" experience

9:00-10:00 AM — Backward Design: Big Ideas/Enduring Concepts, and Essential Questions

Guidelines for Enduring Understandings (Acrobat (PDF) 58kB Oct21 15)

Guidelines for Essential Questions (Acrobat (PDF) 55kB Oct22 15)

PDF version of Course Design Template (Acrobat (PDF) 91kB Oct23 15)

Course Design Template (Excel format) (Excel 2007 (.xlsx) 22kB Oct23 15)

10:00-10:20 AM — Articulating course-level (aspirational or visionary) goals for student learning

Complete the Teaching Goals Inventory (more info) to help you "discover" the goals of your teaching

Example Syllabus for Mineralogy Course (Acrobat (PDF) 5.5MB Oct23 15) illustrating how big ideas, essential questions, and course-level goals can be implemented in a syllabus

10:20-10:30 AM — Reflection and Action Planning

10:30-10:45 AM — Break

10:45 AM-12:00 PM — Aligning Learning Outcomes and Assessments

Slides for Learning Outcomes and Assessments (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 451kB Oct25 15)

  • Warm-up Activity: Outcome-Assessment Alignment
  • Introduction to Bloom's Taxonomy
  • Activity: Write Learning Outcomes for your Context
  • Does the learning outcome identify what students will be able to do after the learning experience?
  • Is it clear how you would measure achievement of the learning outcome?
  • Do chosen verbs have a clear meaning?
  • Is the level of cognitive understanding appropriate? Is it aligned with your actual expectations and with student ability? Do your outcomes cover a range of levels?
  • Is the terminology familiar/common? If not, is knowing the terminology a goal?
  • Is the outcome relevant and useful to students (e.g. connected to their everyday life, or does it represent a useful application of the ideas)?
  • Does the outcome align with your course-scale goals?
  • Activity: Write Assessments Aligned with your Learning Outcomes

Assessment Descriptions (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 194kB Oct22 15)

  • Reflection and Action Planning

12:00-1:00 PM — Lunch

1:00-2:45 PM — Metacognition and Reflection Presentation (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 1MB Oct24 15)

Initial Reflection

"Stage View" Activity: Engage in a Content-Rich Active Learning Experience

"Balcony View" Activity: Analyze this lesson for key research-based components

  • Examine the ways this lesson did or did not support student learning, engagement, motivation, metacognition
  • Handout that provides theoretical underpinnings to these constructs that supplements the presentations is available here (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 143kB Oct3 15).

Personal Reflection and Action Planning

2:45-3:00 PM — Break

3:00-4:00 PM — Work time on instructional design, alignment and action planning

  • Work on design of activity or on incorporation of strategy across whole course (40 minutes)
  • Check for alignment between activity and learning outcomes. Turn to your neighbor and review each others' activity-outcome alignment (10 minutes)
  • Building on action plan steps developed in previous units, compile an action plan that will support successful completion of workshop activities and implementation into a specific course, including resources for future work (10 minutes)

4:00-4:45 PM — Strategies for Ongoing Improvement

Additional resources

Observation protocols

  • COPUS (Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM) from Carl Weiman group - easy training, any colleague can get trained and help you out. Focuses on how instructors and students spend time in the classroom.
  • RTOP (Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol); all of the items are shown here. This requires a bit more extensive training, but is still very accessible.

Alternative evaluations

Additional course design resources

  • Course design tutorial from On the Cutting Edge
  • Pedagogy in Action has information about and examples of many, many different kinds of teaching techniques
  • On the Cutting Edge has lots of resources about designing courses around specific topics, subject areas, or strategies
  • Teaching Introductory Geoscience has lots of resources and ideas that are more specifically focused on introductory courses, including teaching large courses and motivating students

4:45-5:00 PM — Workshop Wrap-up

  • Complete and Save Action Plan
  • Complete Workshop Evaluation
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