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New Semester, New Course: A Series on Course Redesign

Here we are again – a new semester! As you begin to prepare for your next semester, you should consider taking a good look at your courses and brushing them up with a little redesign.

Why look at courses for redesign?

First, a course redesign can help mitigate problems from a course copy, saving time as well as making the online learning environment easier for students to navigate. As you copy courses year after year, they can gather all kind of extra assignments, unlinked grade items, or other extras that can clutter up the whole process.

*Didn’t know you can course copy? Don’t make more work for yourself! You can copy a whole course or even just pieces in Brightspace. Read more about course copy here.

Secondly, best instructional practice calls for instructors to regularly reevaluate their courses and redesign them based on course evaluations and past experience. With the continuously generated informational sources and tech tools available, there is always something an instructor can change that can improve his or her course.

A course redesign will take some time, but in the end, both instructors and students will benefit immensely from it.

How do I get started redesigning a course?

Follow the step-by-step process detailed below to get started with course redesign. Remember, the IDAT team is always available to help you! Contact us to schedule an appointment.

Step 1: Identify learning goals for the course.

  • Have your learning goals changed since you last taught the course?
  • Is there something your students did not master that you wished they had?

Review your course to make sure it is doing its job by reaching these goals.

Step 2: Consider the Past

  • What learning activities went well in the past?
  • Which ones did not?

Think of terms of student engagement and student mastery of learning outcomes.

Step 3: Contemplate Change

Focus on the learning activities that you seek to improve or change. Identify the specific problems with the activities.

  • Were students not engaged?
  • Did students not perform as well as you expected?
  • Was the activity difficult to implement?

Also consider whether there is an activity you need to move online if you have plans to travel during the semester.

Perhaps the last time you taught this course, you were overwhelmed with grading. It may be time to either reduce, combine, or use tech tools to automatically grade assignments! This would be a good time to use Brightspace grading if you have not already.

After identifying the specific problems with the activities, brainstorm how you could solve these issues. Here’s some ideas and articles from the blog to help.

Step 4: Make the Change

Depending on the changes you are considering, you may need to alter your syllabus. After you have decided the activities you want to include and how you want to conduct them (in person or online), it is time to begin creating or editing your course in Brightspace.

Now head over to part 2 about how to make the needed changes to your course in Brightspace like deleting old content & updating your Gradebook.

New Semester, New Course Part 2 ->

This post was originally written by Casey Paul in November 2018. It has been edited, updated, and republished.

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