Course Redesign Resources
Many educators are reinventing courses in response to student demand, technological advances, economic pressures, and widespread availability of open content. The links on this page lead to useful information, resources, and examples for faculty who are moving to blended or online courses or who want to make their in-person courses more effective and engaging. If you know of an online site or resource that should be listed here, tell us about it.
D. Randy Garrison & Norman D. Vaughn
The authors describe a "community of inquiry" framework, emphasizing the need for teaching presence, cognitive presence, and social presence in blended classes. The book provides useful guidelines and examples from small courses, large courses, and project-based courses in several disciplines, including political science, philosophy, nursing, communications & writing, and chemistry.
University of Central Florida
Developed through a Next Generation Learning grant, this site offers an overview of blended learning as well as some design and delivery principles for faculty and student success strategies.
University of New South Wales
The site includes a variety of information, worksheets, and templates useful for incorporating online activities into blended courses.
Michael B. Horn has identified six types of blended learning: face-to-face driver, rotation, flex, online lab, self-blend, online driver.
A similar analysis from the Clayton Christensen Institute describes the rotation model, flex model, a la carte model, and enriched virtual model of blended learning in more detail.
Journal articles discuss theoretical, technical, and pedagogical issues.
Course design & redesign
The site includes a large number of resources including introductory readings on course redesign, a good list of course redesign planning resources, and a description of the replacement model, in which some in-class time is replaced with online learning activities. The replacement approach is the focus of NAU's President's Technology Initiative. You can also view examples and case studies from a number of disciplines and the six models of course redesign.
Topics in the guide include situational factors, learning goals, feedback & assessment, teaching/learning activities, integration, course structure, instructional strategy, and more.
Grant Wiggins, Jay McTighe
The term backward design (also known as alignment) refers to a course design model in which a course designer first identifies what students are expected to learn in a course and then identifies how to assess whether the intended learning has occurred. Only after nailing down those two aspects of the course does a designer turn attention to what kind of learning activities the course should include. The first chapter of this book explains "Why ‘backward’ is best." The book emphasizes planning and includes research-based templates and strategies along with examples from many different subject areas.
See NAU's related 3-part tutorial on backward design.
This model shows the relationships among knowledge dimensions (factual, conceptual, procedural, metacognitive) and the revised version of Bloom's Taxonomy (remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, create).
Thomas A. Angelo, Patricia Cross
Although the assessments in this book were originally designed for in-class use, many can be adapted easily for online and blended use. Two animated videos describe The Muddiest Point and the One-Sentence Summary assessments.
NAU's e-Learning Center
This three-part series begins with defining learning expectations, then moves to deciding on how you'll assess whether the expectations have been met, and finally focuses on devising learning activities that match the expectations and assessments.
Learning Technology Center, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
These questions are a good starting point when thinking about how to redesign a course.
Drawing from higher ed and K-12, this curated collection of videos, presentations, ebooks, and other materials is a rich source of examples of flipped classrooms. On her blog, User Generated Education, Gerstein describes the Flipped Classroom Model, which emphasizes experiential engagement, concept exploration, demonstration & application, and making meaning of learning.
The article describes examples of flipped classrooms in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) disciplines and also points out some of the potential drawbacks of flipping.
Jon Bergmann, Jerry Overmyer, Brett Wilie, Dan Spencer, Deb Wolf, Aaron Sams, Brian Bennett, Jason Kern, April Gudenrath, Philip McIntosh
This three-part series describes what the flipped classroom is and is not, poses questions about instructors' readiness to teach a flipped class, and describes what good flipped classes look like.
This site is a good place to start when searching for freely available university-level digital materials for use in blended courses.
Essentially an online library "of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form," this site provides free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public.
The appendices include a catalog of sources of open content.
Quality of courses
Quality Matters Program
This one-page checklist is handy for making sure you've included some basic informational and structural elements in your courses.
Each year Blackboard hosts an exemplary course program to recognize innovation and best practices. The rubric used for evaluating courses focuses on four areas:
- Course design
- Interaction & collaboration
- Learner support
You can take "tours" of the winning courses.
Teaching & learning
Susan Ambrose, Michael W. Bridges, Michele DiPietro, Marsha C. Lovett, Marie K. Norman
While not specifically about blended learning, the book describes seven general principles of learning, including the effects of prior knowledge, knowledge organization, motivation, mastery, practice & feedback, student development & course climate, and self-direction.
Joseph R. Codde
This teaching checklist was adapted from Arthur W. Chickering's and Zelda F. Gamson's book, Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. (Note: These are not the same seven principles described in How Learning Works, above.)
George Self has created a similar site, Introduction to the Seven Principles, updated to include information on how to use technology to apply the principles.
See also the TLT Group's "Seven Principles" Collection of Ideas for Teaching and Learning with Technology.
Topics include the differences between novices and experts; learning transfer; design of learning environments; examples of effective teaching in history, math, and science; and technology to support learning.
A report from CDW-G describes survey results from high school and higher ed students, faculty, and IT professionals. Students were asked how they currently learn and how they want to learn. They want more technology and more hands-on projects in their classes. In higher ed, they also want more recorded lectures.
Note: NAU's e-Learning Center advises against lengthy recorded lectures. Instead, create very short audio or video recordings (6-8 minutes or less, and less is better) about individual topics. In video recordings, show or demonstrate to students what you're talking about. Don't be just a talking head.
Catherine H. Crouch, Eric Mazur
One technique that can work well for in-class activities in blended courses is peer instruction. This research report states that student scores "improved dramatically" and "...with significant effort invested to motivate students, student reactions to [peer instruction] are generally positive, though there are always some students resistant to being taught in a nontraditional manner."
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