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Design A Course

All courses at Toronto Metropolitan must follow the policies set by the University Senate. The policy most relevant to the course design process is  (PDF file) Policy 166 (merged policies 145: Undergraduate Course Management and 151: Graduate Studies Course Management).

Once you’ve reviewed the policies and embark on the process of course design or redesign, it can be helpful to keep in mind the five principles of good course design proposed by L. Dee Fink. Good course design should:

  • Challenge students to higher-level learning
  • Use active forms of learning
  • Give frequent and immediate feedback to students on the quality of their learning
  • Use a structured sequence of different learning activities
  • Have a fair system for assessing and grading students (Fink, L.D.).

One effective model for the course design process is “backwards design.” In backwards design, the first step is to identify your course learning outcomes or what you hope students will achieve by the end of your course. The next step is to think about the best way to assess whether or not students have met the desired learning outcomes or how they will demonstrate competency. The final step is to ask the question “What approaches promote understanding, interest, and competency in the subject area?” (Nomme & Birol, 2014) and use the answer to determine the most appropriate way to teach your content in order to ensure student success in the course (Wiggins & McTighe). 

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