1/16/13 - Backward Course Design

Moving Forward Using Backward Course Design:

Alignment of Goals, Instruction, and Assessment

with Cori Fata-Hartley

Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, 11:30-1:30.

Biomedical/Physical Sciences Room 1400.

(Lunch Provided)

About the Session:

How will you approach planning or designing your next course? Many STEM instructors follow a common path—select a textbook, identify the chapters to be covered, develop lectures, and finally, create exams. Instructional design methods such as Backward Design offer a more deliberate approach to course development. Backward Design (Wiggins and McTighe, 1988) is a conceptual framework that emphasizes the alignment of learning goals and objectives, assessments, and instructional activities. In the first stage, instructors develop specific learning objectives. What are students expected to know, understand, or be able to do after completing the course? Next, the instructor must determine what will serve as acceptable evidence that students have met these objectives (assessment). It is only after these first two steps have been completed that the instructor develops materials such as lectures and assignments that help student to achieve the learning objectives. By using Backward Design, an instructor must identify curricular priorities and assessment methods early. When these priorities have been identified and evaluated, the teacher may then apply the appropriate resources and time to the most important concepts and ideas. Workshop participants will be introduced to the principles of Backward Design and will have the opportunity to apply those principles to their own classes.

About Cori Fata-Harley:

Cori Fata-Hartley is an Assistant Professor of Biology in Lyman Briggs College at MSU. Cori received her Ph.D. from the Medical College of Ohio where she studied molecular virology. While a postdoctoral associate in the Institute for Molecular Virology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she was introduced to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) and the concept of scientific teaching as a fellow in the HHMI New Generation for Scientific Teaching Program. Cori continued to pursue SoTL work as an MSU Lilly Fellow and completed a fellowship in the American Society for Microbiology Biology Scholars Program, a program that seeks to improve undergraduate science education based on evidence of student learning. Her specific SoTL research interests include student metacognition (knowing about knowing) and increasing the retention of underrepresented groups in STEM disciplines. She serves on the steering committee for MSU’s Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning and for the Association of College and Biology University Educators.

Video of the Workshop

Backwards Design from ANR Communications MSU on Vimeo.

Materials for this workshop may be found below.