This June, twenty faculty members spent a week of their summer participating in the Office of Teaching and Learning’s second-ever Course Design Institute (CDI). The CDI is a week-long, immersive experience focused on designing courses for significant learning –learning that has the potential to change students’ lives in lasting and important ways. We had an impressive group of participants from departments across the university, and a wonderful week working and learning together!
Participants started out by articulating their “Big Dream” for their course, reflecting on questions such as “What is the primary impact you want your course to have on students’ lives?” and “Five years after this course is over, what do I hope my students will still carry with them?” Then, throughout the week, they engaged in a series of interactive workshops, discussions, and collaborative and individual work time as they designed or redesigned their course to achieve that Big Dream, using research-based perspectives on how learning works a “tools to think with” in designing their courses for significant learning.
The CDI introduced faculty members to a set of tools, frameworks and approaches to support them in designing courses for significant learning. In addition, participants were able to experience a wide range of teaching approaches as students, and then reflect upon what they learned from that experience and how they might apply that to their own teaching. But just as importantly, the CDI provided faculty members with the opportunity to learn from and with their teaching colleagues from across the university.
Here are just some of the comments participants shared about the overall experience:
“The CDI has truly opened my eyes to the possibilities for course design. I learned lots and cannot wait to apply all the techniques into my other courses too.”
“This institute has been an invaluable and rare opportunity to learn with and from colleagues across disciplines. Each learning opportunity was intentional and facilitated greater depth of experience. I am very grateful for this experience and look forward to implementing what I have learned.”
“This was a great institute, both because of the content/instructors and because of the interaction with other faculty across campus. We are too siloed, even in our own schools! I appreciate the fact that DU is supporting teaching us how to be better teachers and how to respond to the new landscape of learning coming from the next generation of students.”
“This was such a rich learning experience, from experts sharing, exercises, discussion with colleagues, self-reflection, and practice. I really enjoyed it and find it very helpful. I think that the CDI workshop itself is a great teaching model.”
It is exciting to see the great work that came out of this institute, and even more exciting to think about all of the students who will be impacted by this great work. We look forward to seeing the next group of wonderful faculty members who will be joining us for the next CDI in August!
“I expected to learn a lot but I’m blown away by just how much I’ve learned.”