Female writing in notebook at a desk, view from above

Course Design Methodology

As you design a new course or adapt an existing one, our instructional design team can assist you through this process. Below are resources we have gathered to guide you through the course design process.

Planning your Course

Design with the end goal in mind – Determining your course’s learning objectives and goals will help shape your course’s design. The course design, and content within the course become a means for students to achieve those goals and objectives.

Essentially, you will want to ask and answer the following questions:

  • What lectures, readings, and other supplemental content can you select and produce to help students achieve those goals?
  • What activities can you conduct to reinforce those concepts?
  • What meaningful opportunities will you provide for students to demonstrate their competency?

Course Delivery Modalities

A course’s modality plays an important role in course design. While the overall goals and objectives remain the same for any modality, the delivery method has a significant impact on course design. Review the available instructional modalities to get an understanding of the options available to you. While “Hawk 2 Hawk” represents a fairly straightforward version of in-person teaching, hybrid and online instruction include more delivery options within their respective definitions and offer a variety of methods to deliver course content.

Create a Course Blueprint to Align Components

As you are thinking about how all this information fits together, it is helpful to visualize how these elements are aligned.

  • Course Description
  • Course Learning Outcomes
  • Content
  • Activities & Assessments

The diagram linked below illustrates an example of the alignment between these elements that assist in designing the assessments in the course. Take a look at more details about this course and the assignments: The Sociology of Cyberspace.

Creating & Selecting Course Materials

As you select and create your course materials, you will make many decisions along the way. Will you use a textbook, coursepacks, open educational resources, licensed library resources, the library’s course reserves program, or multimedia? How will these materials integrate with Canvas? What course materials do you plan to create or record?

Consider providing a range of instructional materials that are accessible in multiple formats.

Create your own videos using Panopto to create interactive lecture-capture videos for students to test their knowledge or share their thoughts.

Explore social annotation tools such as Hypothesis or Perusall to have students annotate course readings with questions and insights.

Designing Assessments of Student Learning

How Will You Assess Students? Include both formative (non-graded) and summative (graded) assessments to allow students to demonstrate and get feedback on their learning in a variety of ways. Provide clear descriptions for course assessments and provide accompanying rubrics that define expectations and progress toward learning outcomes. Consider authentic assessments (i.e., assessments that replicate what one might actually do in an academic or professional setting). For example, having an open book test more realistically reflects how one might find, assess, and apply referenced material for a specific purpose. But if you need to use more traditional quizzes, tests, and exams, make them lower stakes and spread them out throughout the course. Consider other tips on how to structure your online assessments to promote academic integrity.

Selecting Teaching Strategies

What pedagogical strategies and practices work best for your course(s)? We encourage you to browse the teaching strategies we have called attention to in our Pedagogical Strategies and Practices section.  Regardless of the approach and learning space, effective pedagogical practices must be designed with the learner in mind in order to maximize engagement and ultimately, impact mastery of student outcomes.

Build Your Course

Once you’ve mapped out your course and are ready to build it in Canvas there are many resources available to help you. The Montclair State Modifiable Course Template is set up using learning modules by week to provide a structure you can customize for your courses.  It can be imported from the Canvas Course Commons into your course(s). The template may be modified for multiple weeks by adding or removing modules as you see fit.

There are countless additional technologies you may consider incorporating into your course.  We offer training on many collaboration, multimedia, and engagement tools such as VoiceThread, Padlet, Flipgrid, Perusall, and Google Apps.

This step can feel intimidating if you’ve never used Canvas before. Instructional designers are available to help you navigate the resources available that may enhance your course development and teaching. Technology training is also available for Canvas and many of the additional tools used within it.