Course Design or Assignment Alignment Working Groups

In addition to workshops on course design, CATL offers two different types of Working Groups focused on Course or Assignment Design. Each is composed of small groups of faculty who are designing or redesigning a course or assignment.

Groups meet 3 times during a semester, at times convenient to the group members. During each approximately 90-minute meeting, the group discusses each participant’s course or assignment according to the questions or topics that most interest the person who is designing the course.

If you are interested in joining either type of Working Group this semester, please contact Deandra Little or CATL.

Course Design Working Groups

Course Design Working Groups (CDWG) focus on designing a new course or rethinking an existing course. Most groups are interdisciplinary, but some share common themes or teaching contexts, such as faculty developing COR Capstone or Study Abroad courses or faculty teaching within similar areas.

As part of a CDWG, you will focus on a single course of your choosing, which might be a new course you’ll teach soon, or a course you’ve taught before that you’d like to rethink or refine.

Many Elon faculty who have joined a course design group since they began in Fall 2005 have found the process to be “helpful and productive”:

  • “I was putting together my Unit I for this year and I just realized I never thanked you for the course design workshop last January. I received the highest teaching evaluations of my entire career in the course that I worked on.” (2015)
  • “I had a look at student evaluations of the course you helped me revise during our design group last summer. They were hands down the best evaluations I’ve ever received. I owe all of you a debt of thanks and give you lot of credit.” (2006)

Assignment Alignment Working Groups

Assignment Alignment Working Groups focus more narrowly on developing assignments within a course in ways that align with your course learning goals.

These Working Groups blend “backward design” and “transparency” approaches to help you design/redesign assignments that clearly support your course goals and foster meaningful student learning. Backward design begins by thinking about student learning and building intentionally toward a complete syllabus. Research on transparency suggests that identifying and sharing with students the purpose, task, and criteria for success for each assignment leads to broader and deeper learning.

Small groups of faculty apply an assignment design process based on these approaches to a major assignment or to a few smaller, less complex one. Groups also discuss ways to help students understand the relationship of each assignment to the broader aims of the class, asking:

  • Do each of the individual assignments in your class align with your course learning goals for students?
  • How can you help students understand the relationship of each assignment to the broader aims of the class in ways that foster learning of all students?

If you are interested in joining either type of Working Group this semester, please contact Deandra Little or CATL.