Course Planning and Design

Students around a table

Remote teaching environments benefit greatly from planning ahead, practicing transparency in all aspects of syllabus and course design, and integrating inclusive teaching strategies.

  • Think of the construction of your Blackboard course site, remote teaching syllabus, discussion forums, and initial assessments as a first attempt that you may/will/should revise as the semester moves forward.
  • Your initial effort should be on the clear organization of the Blackboard site. Make it easy for students to understand what they will learn and what they need to do to be successful by week, unit, set of texts, set of problems/data, or topics.
  • Include all deadlines, important dates, and transparent grading scales in your syllabus.
  • Develop course materials for the first two to three weeks of classes. After reflecting on how the materials prepared are working for you and your students, recalibrate for the rest of the semester.
  • Break up video content into lengths that work for you. You can choose to narrate a 15 to 20-minute PowerPoint, or you might want to stick exclusively with 3-5 minute microlecture videos.  Video-recorded components are very useful to all teaching modalities, including synchronous and hybrid courses.
  • State clearly the learning goals and objectives for the course. Be conscious and transparent in how you connect those objectives to your course design and the texts/sets of concepts students are assigned to read or work with, as well as the assessments students will complete.
  • Incorporate elements of universal design (easy-to-read font, high contrast, etc.). See the Accessible Teaching and Accommodations Quick Guide put together by the Disability Resource Center. Be prepared to offer accommodations for students with disabilities.
  • Access inclusive course design strategies meant to address the assets and experiences of underrepresented minority and first-generation students in your classroom. Anti-racism teaching resources are part of the inclusive teaching strategies framework.