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Creating Significant Learning Experiences, Revised and Updated by L. Dee Fink

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APPENDIX A

PLANNING YOUR COURSE: A DECISION GUIDE

Whenever teachers plan or design their courses, they are in essence making a series of decisions aimed at creating a design, which in this case consists of a plan of activities for what the teacher and students will do in a course. This guide identifies the several decisions involved in designing a course, places these decisions in an appropriate sequence, and suggests ways to make good decisions. I have grouped these decisions into three phases of the design process:

Initial phase: Building strong primary components of the course
Intermediate phase: Assembling the components into a dynamic, coherent whole
Final phase: Taking care of important details

Initial Phase: Building Strong Primary Components of the Course

1. WHERE ARE YOU?
Size up the situational factors.
  • Specific context: Number of students, kind of classroom, and so on
  • General context: Place in the curriculum, professional preparation, and so on
  • Nature of the subject: Convergent or divergent, stable or rapidly changing?
  • Student characteristics: Prior knowledge, attitudes, maturity, and so on
  • Teacher characteristics: Knowledge of and feelings toward subject and students; teaching philosophy, experience, and so on
  • Special pedagogical challenge: What is the special challenge to teaching this subject well?
2. WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO?
What are your learning goals for the course? Ideally, what would you like students to get out of this course? Some possibilities:
  • Foundational ...

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