Whether you’re prepping a new course or refreshing an old one, planning is an essential component to the success of your courses. Here are 10 tips to keep in mind as you develop your course, as well as some great resources from our peers.
10 Tips on Developing Your Course:
- Start with the end in mind. Instead of focusing on your content, start by establishing your learning objectives. Once you know what you want students to know and do, you can establish on how you will assess their level of achievement. Finally, you can select your instructional strategies and learning activities that will help you achieve these goals.
- Make it a learning syllabus. Your syllabus should be more than just a contract between you and your students. It should be a document that helps you teach. Check our resources on how to create a syllabus that improves student learning.
- Don’t try to do too much. Trying new technologies and teaching methods is great, but taking on too much can overload you.
- Don’t pack it in. Trying to cover too much content can stress you out and hurt student learning. Focus on what’s really important
- Keep time in mind. Create assignments and rubrics that can help you assess students learning quickly and easily.
- Think about how you use course materials. Many faculty choose a textbook and go through it chapter by chapter to organize a course. Think about what role textbooks, articles, websites, videos and other materials play in learning, and explain how you want students to use them in your class.
- Get organized. Put your class dates in your calendar with a description of what you are doing and what’s due. Put all of your course materials into an easy to find folder. Upload content to blackboard.
- Rediscover your passion. Each semester is a chance to show students why this content matters and why you fell in love with your discipline. Bring that energy into your class each day.
- Don’t be afraid to change it up. If you are new to a class, you may have inherited someone else’s syllabus and course materials. Don’t be afraid to make changes that fit your teaching style. Make the course your own, and you’ll have better results.
- Don’t try to do it alone. Check with your colleagues, UTSA and other schools, to find textbooks, content, resources, activities, and assignments. And you can schedule a consultation with UTSA TLS!
On the Syllabus:
One of the most important elements of your course is the syllabus. Your syllabus should be a roadmap showing students how to navigate and have success in your course. Here are a few resources to help you with your syllabus design:
- Syllabus Design (online module) & (PDF)
- It’s in The Syllabus: 10 Tips for Transparent Syllabus Design (online module) & (PDF)
- UTSA Syllabus Template (with full text of UTSA services and policies) (updated July 2017)
- UTSA Syllabus Template (with links to UTSA services and policies) (updated July 2017)
Check out these additional resources for class preparation: