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Planning a Class with Backward Design

Planning a Class with Backward Design
It’s easy to switch into automatic pilot mode when it comes to planning a course. It goes something like this: (1) we look at the topic of the course we’re assigned to teach, (2) we select enough essential/canonical/anti-canonical reading material to fill out fifteen or so weeks, and then (3) we plot that reading onto a calendar. Instant Syllabus! I found myself falling into this very mode of course design recently, as I began planning an upper-level science fiction class for Fall 2011. That was it. So what’s the problem with this method? In their excellent book Understanding by Design, Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe call the process of designing courses around learning goals “the backward design process.” For example, they offer a three-stage diagram of the backward design process that looks deceptively simple: Identify desired resultsDetermine Acceptable EvidencePlan Learning Experiences Imagine a set of three concentric rings. These questions are a far cry from what should we read? Related:  Creating a college syllabusCourse Design

David Foster Wallace’s mind-blowing creative nonfiction syllabus: “This does not mean an essayist’s goal is to ‘share’ or ‘express herself’ or whatever feel-good term you got taught in high school” English 183D is a workshop course in creative nonfiction, which term denotes a broad category of prose works such as personal essays and memoirs, profiles, nature and travel writing, narrative essays, observational or descriptive essays, general-interest technical writing, argumentative or idea-based essays, general-interest criticism, literary journalism, and so on. The term’s constituent words suggest a conceptual axis on which these sorts of prose works lie. As nonfiction, the works are connected to actual states of affairs in the world, are “true” to some reliable extent. If, for example, a certain event is alleged to have occurred, it must really have occurred; if a proposition is asserted, the reader expects some proof of (or argument for) its accuracy. Expenses There are no required textbooks 1 and I will provide free Xeroxes of all outside readings. Total Writing Workload for Class (1) Let’s say 24-39 pages of finished, high-quality nonfiction. Class Rules & Procedures Essays = 60%

Teaching for Enduring Understanding Earlier this summer I discussed the idea of backward design, which comes from Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe’s excellent book Understanding by Design. Recall that backward design is a three-stage process, in which you as a teacher first identify your desired results for a class, then determine what would count as evidence that your students did or did not reach those results, and finally, design your learning experience around your desired results and evidence. The idea behind backward design is simple, yet it’s something I find myself relearning again and again. Even now, as I prep for the upcoming semester, I am tempted to focus on what I want my students to read, rather than what I want my students to understand. It’s a testament to my perennial rediscovery of backward design that I wrote virtually the same sentence as above in my earlier post on backward design—and had forgotten I had done so. The outer ring represents knowledge “worth being familiar with” for students. Return to Top

Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age December 12, 2004 George Siemens Update (April 5, 2005): I've added a website to explore this concept at Introduction Behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism are the three broad learning theories most often utilized in the creation of instructional environments. Learners as little as forty years ago would complete the required schooling and enter a career that would often last a lifetime. “One of the most persuasive factors is the shrinking half-life of knowledge. Some significant trends in learning: Many learners will move into a variety of different, possibly unrelated fields over the course of their lifetime. Background Driscoll (2000) defines learning as “a persisting change in human performance or performance potential…[which] must come about as a result of the learner’s experience and interaction with the world” (p.11). Driscoll (2000, p14-17) explores some of the complexities of defining learning. Conclusion:

Relaxing in the Digital Garden: How to Thrive in the 21st Century "Garden." "Relax." Those are the answers to two questions I've been asked more often than any other on this Now You See it book tour that began back in August. I know those words don't seem as if they are the key to success in the digital future, so let me explain. “Garden” is the answer I give most frequently to parents and educators when they ask what I see as the most important characteristic of successful schools. The operative learning principle goes back at least as far principle that goes at least as far back as John Dewey’s idea that all learning should be related to the actual experiences of the child, to contemporary Project-Based Learning methods, and to the idea reiterated by many educators, including the National Academies that the most important 3 R’s” are relationships, rigor, and relevance. But what does all this have to do with the digital age? And why “relax”? Let’s put our experience in perspective. And so are our kids. They are not being damaged by the Internet.

Creating ← The Graphic Syllabus Graphic Syllabi Structures Now that you have collected and categorized your course syllabus components, it’s time to get creative and start sketching your graphic syllabus! There are numerous possible logics for structuring your syllabus. Your course may easily (or with a little tweaking) fit into one of these structures: This is not an exhaustive list and you may see the flow of your course syllabus in a different way. Consider these six different ways to layout one single concept. The next step is choosing a diagramming tool to graphically display your syllabus. A list of tools is available in Implementing.

Rhizomatic Learning – Why we teach? It’s my week at #change11. My topic? Rhizomatic Learning. Rhizomatic learning is a way of thinking about learning based on ideas described by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari in a thousand plateaus. I’ve been talking about rhizomes and learning for about five years now. Why do we teach? Why do we teach? What does successful learning look like? the rhizome pertains to a map that must be produced, constructed, a map that is always detachable, connectible, reversible, modifiable, and has multiple entryways and exits and its own lines of flight. It is that map that I think successful learning looks like. Sounds a bit like networked learning…? What does a successful learner look like? Nomads have the ability to learn rhizomatically, to ‘self-reproduce’, to grow and change ideas as they explore new contexts. How do we structure successful learning? Activity.

Content Directories Welcome to the Content Directories The following is a list of organizations and projects powered with Creative Commons licenses. Since Creative Commons does not maintain a database of content and does not store content, we would like CC-community members to help build a directory of projects to help spread the word about CC — hence the CC Content Directories wiki! Please help us fill it out! What is an appropriate entry for Content Directories? Many of the listings in the Content Directories are organizations that provide services using Creative Commons licenses. Not certain that something should be added to this list? How to add an entry to Content Directories To get started, simply add the name of the organization or project in the box below.

Seven Principles of Effective Teaching: A Practical Lens for Evaluating Online Courses Note: This article was originally published in The Technology Source ( as: Charles Graham, Kursat Cagiltay, Byung-Ro Lim, Joni Craner, and Thomas M. Duffy "Seven Principles of Effective Teaching: A Practical Lens for Evaluating Online Courses" The Technology Source, March/April 2001. Available online at The article is reprinted here with permission of the publisher. The "Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education," originally published in the AAHE Bulletin (Chickering & Gamson, 1987), are a popular framework for evaluating teaching in traditional, face-to-face courses. We, a team of five evaluators from Indiana University's Center for Research on Learning and Technology (CRLT), recently used these principles to evaluate four online courses in a professional school at a large Midwestern university. Principle 1: Good Practice Encourages Student-Faculty Contact Conclusion References

Creating a Syllabus | Faculty Central Below you will find some helpful information and resources to use when creating your syllabus. Polk State College Procedure Polk State College Procedure 1001 contains guidelines for communicating course information to students. The procedure clearly outlines the elements instructors are required to include in their syllabus. Procedure 1001 Contains all guidelines related to communicating course information to students including the list of required syllabus elements. Syllabus Checklist Contains required syllabus elements as indicated in Procedure 1001 formatted as a handy checklist. Learning-Centered Syllabus Faculty are encouraged to develop and utilize a learning-centered syllabus. “A learning-centered syllabus includes more, rather than less, information. A learning-centered syllabus includes all of the information that a student needs in order to be successful in a particular course. References Grunert O’Brien, J. (2008). Like this: Like Loading...

Characteristics of Millennial Students: What Professors Need to Know The first indication that the Millennial Generation may be different from previous generations is to consider how many different names we have for the generation and the people who belong to it. They’re referred to as Generation Y, Nexters, Baby Boom Echo Generation, Echo Boomers, Digital Natives, Generation Next, Generation Me and, of course, Millennials. If nothing else, they’re one of the most studied generations. And while it’s important we don’t stereotype an entire generation of individuals, the large body of research on those born between 1981 and 1999 (or there about) has provided us with unique insights into their learning preferences, behaviors and attitudes. Christy Price, EdD, a psychology professor at Dalton State College, became interested in Millennial learners when she noticed a gap between students’ expectation for success and the effort they put forth in the classroom (Price, 2009). References: Price, C. (2009). Price, C.

Submissions Author Guidelines Manuscript Submissions The aim of The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL) is to disseminate scholarly information to scholars and practitioners of open and distance learning and teaching worldwide. Authors submit their manuscripts online by registering with this journal, logging in, clicking the New Submission link, and following the screen instructions through a five-step submission process. NOTE: An authentication email is sent automatically, which requires the registrant to validate his or her email address. Users cannot log in to IRRODL’s Web site until they validate their email addresses. Submission topics must relate to open or distance learning and may be placed in the Research Articles section or a Notes section. By submitting to IRRODL, the authors agree to the submission of their article to "Turnitin" for the sole purpose of detecting plagiarism. IRRODL Article Template IRRODL Research Article Guidelines IRRODL Sections Notes 1.

Best Practices « SHSUOnline Blog Welcome to the Best Practices for Teaching online or as we like to call it: Strategies for Success in your Online Course page. No matter what tool you use or technological journey you embark upon, is the method and not the medium that will help you ensure success in the online, face-to-face and hybrid courses you are teaching. These best practices/strategies will help you with organization, communication, time saving, assessment as well as many other areas. Just looking at this list of best practices, it is easy to understand how you might feel overwhelmed. Record an Video Introduction for your Course Record an introduction video introducing yourself and the course organization. You can create your own video introduction and post it or here at SHSU Online, we can get you in our studio where the possibilities as you can see above are limited only by your imagination. Use a “Virtual Office” Discussion Forum for Course Questions Let’s face it, we all “misplace” e-mail. Employ a Syllabus Quiz