Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology
Illinois State University
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Design Your Course

Course Overview

The purpose of instruction is to help students learn. Hence the design of a course should aim at facilitating the process of learning rather than the process of teaching.

Before you begin, please watch the following video by the course facilitator, Dr. Claire Lamonica, which provides an overview of the course modules.

The course design modules listed below are intended to guide you through a process of decision making, component design and alignment, and self-assessment in a way that will result in the design of a course that provides significant learning experiences for your students.

We recommend that you complete the modules in the order they are listed, as the process is a cumulative one. The modules will assist you to conceptualize the course as a whole.

One practical application is to ultimately integrate the various components (developed through Modules 1 - 10) in Module 11 when you finally develop your “promising syllabus.” We also recommend that you concentrate on designing one course at a time.

Once you've been through the process once, we hope you'll feel comfortable adapting it to your own needs as you continue to design more courses in the future.

These modules will guide you as you:

  1. Develop Primary Components for your Course
    1. Analyzing Important Situational Factors
    2. Identifying Significant Learning Outcomes
    3. Formulating Educative Feedback and Assessment
    4. Selecting Teaching and Learning Activities
    5. Integrating and Aligning Course Components
  2. Assemble Components into a Coherent Whole
    1. Creating a Course Structure
    2. Selecting Effective Instructional Strategies
    3. Creating Overall Scheme of Learning Activities
  3. Engage in Important Course Development and Evaluation Tasks
    1. Developing a Grading System
    2. Anticipating Possible Problems
    3. Writing the “Promising Syllabus”
    4. Evaluating the Course and your Teaching

Estimated Time of Completion

Thirty minutes per module (excluding time for research).

Target Audience

The modules are intended for faculty at Illinois State University who are interested in learning about course design but cannot attend workshops offered at CTLT. They are also suitable for faculty needing a refresher after a workshop on course design.


  1. Study each module.
  2. Complete the accompanying module worksheets in the sequence presented.
  3. Use information gathered or generated from previous module(s) as input for subsequent modules.
  4. If applicable send questions related to modules to the course facilitator, Dr. Claire Lamonica.

Referenced Books

You will be guided through a course design process that draws on the work of Dee Fink (Creating Significant Learning Experiences), Ken Bain (What the Best College Teachers Do), and others. Some of the books referenced in the modules are available from the CTLT Instructional Resource Commons.

Course Facilitator

Dr. Claire Lamonica
Dr. Claire Lamonica
Director, Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology Illinois State University, Normal, IL
Phone: (309) 438-2542

Claire joined the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology (CTLT) in August 2006, after eight years in the English Department. In addition to her administrative duties at CTLT, Claire is the primary contact person for the Teaching Excellence Series, New Faculty Orientation, Teaching Consultation Services, The LINK (the CTLT newsletter), the Teaching-Learning Symposium, and Early-Career Faculty programming.

Required Technical Skills & Assistance

Keyboarding ability, familiarity with a browser (such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome), and a computer with internet access are required.

For technical assistance, please contact your department or college support person or the Technology Support Center at (309) 438-HELP.

How to get organized

Since each module includes worksheets that build towards your course design, you might want to create a folder on your desktop to use to save this work (perhaps labeling it with the course name).

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Dr. Claire Lamonica
Dr. Claire Lamonica
Director, Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology
Illinois State University
Normal, IL
Phone: (309) 438-2542
2018-06-13T15:10:54.628-05:00 2018