Creative Subject Design: Yes You Can!


Extract from Issue#10 of Teaching Tuesdays@CSU

All issues of Teaching Tuesdays can be accessed through the folder at this link.

Creative Course (Subject) Design: Yes You Can!

By Ken Alford, PhD and Anthony Sweat, PhDSource:

(How to subscribe: Staff with a CSU email address can obtain the Magna Commons CSU subscription code from Ellen McIntyre

In this engaging and entertaining 53-minute webinar, Ken Alford and Anthony Sweat discuss the main challenges to creative (subject) course design and they present strategies to overcome these challenges. They look at

Exploring your subject

  • Develop an overview of what you want to do with the class and your reasons for the way you are doing it.
  • Take account of the stage of the course and the type of students in the subject.
  • Let your “overarching metaphor” for your subject guide its development.
  • Borrow (or steal) and modify good ideas for your own use – remember to attribute the source!

Developing your subject

  • Clearly define the purpose of the subject.
  • Identify and/or develop your subject learning outcomes (at the 20:30 minute mark).
  • Constructively align learning outcomes, learning activities, assessment tasks.
  • Capitalise on YOUR strengths.

Presenting your lessons

  • Understand what “active learning” really means.
  • Creative design requires trade-offs – with a finite time for your lesson or module, when you add something, you have to remove something (at the 42:30 minute mark).
  • Tweak and tune – don’t throw out the whole subject because one lesson doesn’t work!
  • Add memorable lesson nuggets.
  • Tell “good” stories to drive concepts home.

Creating your assessments (at the 45:00 minute mark)

  • Watch the Professor Dance-a-Lot video – linked from Supplementary material.
  • Practice: SMART.
  • Wherever possible, provide alternate ways for students to: prepare for class, share what they are learning, demonstrate mastery.

Be flexible

  • What if it doesn’t work? Get feedback from students and from peers.

Presentation handouts, full transcripts and supplementary resources are available for download from the Magna Commons website if you don’t have time to listen to the seminar.