Indiana University’s Course Development Institute

Each summer Indiana University’s Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning offers the Course Development Institute to instructors and faculty of all ranks. The Institute meets for four 3.5-hour morning sessions over a 9-day period to implement a backward design approach as faculty develop a new course or revise an existing course. By the end of the Institute, participants can expect to have determined learning outcomes for their students and outlined a major final assignment (or exam) that gathers evidence about the extent to which students have achieved those outcomes. They also have the opportunity to lay out a basic calendar for the course they are developing and to map out and align assignments and grading strategies that motivate students toward the learning outcomes they have delineated. By way of highly interactive processes participants receive invaluable feedback from colleagues from other departments and disciplines on the work they do during the Institute.

During the institute participants use the backward design model (Wiggins and McTighe, 2005) to design or redesign their course, whether that course is a lecture, discussion or lab. In the backward design process student learning activities along with course content are structured after course goals, assessments and learning outcomes have been articulated. The assessments are intentionally designed to provide evidence that students have achieved the course goals.


By the end of the institute most participants discover that they have moved from a “Teacher Centered” model for creating a course to one that is much more “Learner Centered.”