Unit W – The IDI Workbook

Step 1: Where Are You Starting?

1.1 Review Course Requirements

Image of design steps with step 1 highlighted

In this step, you will identify required elements of your course and basic information about your students. You will also review previous evaluations of your courses and teaching to identify any changes you had identified.

This step will help you define what you want your students to be able to accomplish at the end of the course – your learning outcomes.

1.1 Results (What)

A list of what your course needs to include based on:

  • Program, university, and department requirements
  • Department-required textbook
  • Pre-and post-requisite courses
  • Other agencies (such as accreditation)
  • Other outcomes (such as threshold, metacognition, inclusivity, etc.)
  • Administrative details for your course such as required grading schema and learning structure
  • Administrative details for all courses such as important term dates

1.1 Overview (Why)

Each course is part of at least one program. Each program has requirements for what the students must be able to accomplish. This is usually broken down into learning outcomes/course goals. Although we can assume we know most of the learning outcomes, if you don’t check, you may be missing some important aspects.

In addition, some courses may have foundational or value outcomes. These are overarching goals that the university strives to provide all students (Chapter C2: Learning Goals, Outcomes, & Objectives for examples).

However, you may have other course goals based on pre-and post-requisite courses and accreditation bodies, in addition to other requirements.

You may also have identified goals that you would like to include that are based on supporting your students in more than just the subject-matter (Chapter A3: Active and Transformative Learning). For example, you may have a goal of helping your students think like experts in your discipline, or you may want to help them learn how to learn.

Prerequisites / Post requisites

The content of your course is based on the overall curricular goals for each program. As such, it includes your course, and any courses students must have already taken (including secondary school) that lead you to believe they have a set of SKAs entering your course. Moreover, your course may meet some of the core curriculum goals for the campus, again establishing expectations from the rest of the curriculum.

Knowing what courses students have already completed can help you set a starting point for your course. If students in your course are required to take a prerequisite course, then you probably have expectations of what skills and knowledge they have before entering your course.

Similarly, if you are teaching a prerequisite course, then the subsequent course may have expectations of what your students learn. As your course is likely part of at least one program, understanding where your students are likely going next will help you identify what your students must learn on your course to be successful in the next course(s).

For example, I was working with an instructor at Purdue University who was teaching students how to use Excel spreadsheets. They needed some specific Excel skills before they took business courses, so this influenced his learning goals. Understanding what students will be learning in future courses will help you determine what and, potential, how you need to focus your teaching.

Accreditation and other external agency requirements

If your students are in a program that leads them to accreditation, you may want to consider what factors you can include to support them. If, for example, they will be primary school teachers, will they be expected to have a portfolio? Is this something you should include (how to create and use a portfolio and/or what to include in it and/or actual work products, etc.)?

Threshold, metacognition, cognitive load, inclusivity, and other concepts

Students entering your course may need additional supports such as how to think in your discipline, how to improve their ability to learn, etc. Unit A has a brief explanation of these and other concepts.

Administrative Details

In addition to what your course should include, you also need administrative details for the course and for the institute. For example, some courses may be required to be asynchronous and fully online or perhaps project-based or pass/fail. These types of details can impact your course design and teaching. In addition, you will need to know scheduling details such as the last date to drop or add a course, dates for grade submission, etc. Most of these will be easy to obtain but are critical to your course schedule.

1.1 Suggestions/Instructions (How & What If)

  1. Create a computer folder for your course. If you have any paper referring to your course, create a file folder as well. Suggestion: Use the same name on both, referring to the course number and term.
  2. Find term deadlines such as textbook ordering, final grade submissions, etc. (C8)
  3. Check options for readings such as library, bookstore and print shop options, deadlines, and requirements. (C8)
  4. Review the course requirements for:
    • Required course outcomes from the program, university, and/or department. (A3, C2, A2, A5)
    • Courses that require your course as a prerequisite or have with required levels of competence in specific topics from your course. (A2, A9)
    • TCs and/or transformative concepts identified by the program committee. (A3, A5, C2, A2, A5)
    • Grading schema (A-E, P/N, etc.)
    • Required textbook. (C8)
  5. Identify what courses were prerequisites for yours to identify what students have been exposed to. (A9)
  6. Identify if you have a required learning structure. If so, identify what technology is required for this. (B3)
  7. Review your teaching philosophy for concepts that you want to include such as:
    • TCs, metacognition, cognitive load, inclusivity, and other concepts for ideas of other goals. (A1, C2, 4A, A5, A6, A7, A8, A9, A10, A11)
    • Subjects in Angelo & Cross’s Teaching Goals Inventory, Fink’s Significant Learning and AAC&U’s Goals for Liberal Education (Angelo & Cross, 1993; Fink, 2013; Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE), n.d.). (A3, C2, A1)
1.1 Worksheets

1.1. Review Course Requirements
Use this form to identify date constraints, program restrictions and requirements, etc.

View this page (W1.1 Details) as .pdf (opens in new tab)

Go to W1.1 Worksheets (Word doc opens in new tab)

Link to other areas:

1.1 References

Angelo, T., & Cross, K. P. (1993). Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers (2nd ed.). Jossey-Bass.

Fink, L. D. (2013). Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses (Revised and updated edition). Jossey-Bass.

Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE). (n.d.). AAC&U. Retrieved June 26, 2022, from https://www.aacu.org/initiatives/value