Note: The information below is about our in-person Course Design Institute which will be offered again in Summer 2023. We are offering a fully-online, self-study version of this institute in December 2022; to learn more about this self-study and to register, please see our events page.

What is the Course Design Institute?

The Course Design Institute (CDI) is a week-long, immersive experience focused on designing courses for significant learning – that is, learning that has the potential to change students’ lives in lasting and important ways. The Institute brings faculty members together to engage in meaningful guided discussions, hands-on workshops, and working sessions to design or redesign a course in which all components (outcomes, assessments, and activities) align to result in significant learning.

“The CDI experience is absolutely rewarding to me. It provides many actionable concepts in a way that encouraged instant application. I am thankful for having the opportunity to attend.”

What do participants get out of it?

Though active participation and mindful engagement in this Institute, participants will – in addition to completing a draft of the high-level design for their course – be better-prepared to:

  • Intentionally design a course in which all components (outcomes, assessments, and activities) align with each other to result in important and lasting learning for student
  • Use research-based perspectives on how learning works as “tools to think with” in designing learning experiences.
  • Articulate significant learning outcomes for their courses – that is, the lasting and most important learnings they hope students will come away with, and that can be used as a “north star” in designing/adapting their courses.
  • Identify assessments that support both them and their students in determining the extent to which the desired learning outcomes have been achieved.
  • Identify learning activities that will lead to the desired learning outcomes, and that actively engage students in the learning process.

What is the format of the CDI?

Most of this institute will happen face-to-face, and will include guided discussions, hands-on workshops, and working sessions led by the Office of Teaching and Learning staff. However, there will be asynchronous components as well as we draw upon what we’ve learned over the past few years to make the most of both the online and in-person modalities. The institute will culminate in a share-and-celebrate event on the final day of the institute.

Please note:

  • The on-campus portion of the CDI will run Monday – Friday, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. However, there will will be some times on those days (specifically, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday after 1:30 and all day Thursday) when participants will be working on their own and welcomed to work off-site to do that work if they choose. We will share additional detail on the structure/schedule to registrants as the CDI gets closer; in the meantime, you can find an itinerary for last summer’s Course Design Institute here
  • Before the institute begins, participants will need to complete 3 hours of pre-work. This pre-work – which will consist of some videos and activities in Canvas – will be made available to registrants one week ahead of time and can be done anytime the week before the institute begins.

Who is eligible to participate in the CDI?

University of Denver faculty interested in designing or redesigning a course that will be taught in the upcoming school year are encouraged to apply. We hope to be able to accommodate all faculty members who are interested. However, capacity is limited, so if we are not able to accommodate everyone, priority will be given to faculty who have not yet taken the CDI.

Faculty members who complete the Course Design Institute, including key deliverables such as a course alignment table outlining key course components, will receive a stipend.


From DU faculty members who have completed the CDI:

"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 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."

"Many thanks again for everything! The CDI staff were friendly, competent and inspiring. The Institute differentiated to the various levels of course design expertise in the group and helped myself and a colleague develop an excellent course sequence. Further, I intend to visit OTL frequently in the future-- your office is an incredible gem on this campus."

How can I learn more?

You can contact Virginia Pitts if you have questions or need additional information.