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Puzzling Over Course Design – Summer Tapa #2: Begin Where You Want Your Students to End Up

23 Jul

Part 2 in our Teaching by Design Series focuses on learning outcomes.  An analogy I like to use to illustrate the importance of well-written learning outcomes for course design is the importance of the photograph of the finished product on a jigsaw puzzle box for assembling the puzzle.  You could assemble the puzzle without the photograph to guide you, but it would take you more time than assembling the pieces with the photograph in front of you.  Similarly in course design, you could create an entire course without using learning outcomes to guide you, but the process will not be as efficient as the situation where you begin with a clear idea of what you want your students to be able to do at the end of your course.

If you have already viewed Part One: Environmental Factors and completed the companion work guide, you have been introduced to the concept of aligned course design and have a better understanding of how such factors shape and influence this process.  In Part 2, I talk specifically about learning outcomes.  As part of this brief narrated presentation, I’ll provide a working definition of learning outcomes and explain why writing clear learning outcomes are important for teachers, students, and the aligned course design process.  I provide a couple of examples to help illustrate these concepts, but as you listen to the presentation, think of how they might also apply to the courses you are designing and teaching.

You’ll find the PDF conveying the  Puzzling Over Course Design narrated presentation in the Teaching by Design section.

I believe that the time you spend on crafting your student learning outcomes is worth the effort.  Clear student learning outcomes will help you efficiently focus the rest of your course planning efforts.  To assist you in this process there are links to several resources in this tapa, including the handout “Effective Use of Performance Objectives for Learning and Assessment” and Dee Fink’s Guide to course design.

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