What is the TCU Course Design Institute?

The TCU Course Design Institute is an extensive, intensive, multi-day workshop in which you will use the learner-centered process of Backward Design, and the Scientific Teaching principles of Inclusiveness, Active Learning, and Assessment, to design or redesign a course that leads to improved student learning.

Scientific Teaching focuses on bringing the critical thinking, rigor, creativity, and spirit of research and experimentation to teaching, through the themes of inclusive teaching, active learning, and assessment. While the Scientific Teaching principles are well-suited for STEM disciplines, students and faculty in all disciplines can benefit from the incorporation of these themes in their courses.

By the end of the week, you will have:

  • Utilized learner-centered design principles to build a course in which goals, assessments, and instruction are integrated and aligned.
  • Expanded your repertoire of evidence-based practices to create supportive classroom environments.
  • Explored and developed strategies to engage and assess diverse students.
  • Developed a final or near-final syllabus.
  • Connected with fellow instructors to share knowledge, build new skills, and cultivate partnerships.

*You are encouraged to bring a laptop that is connected to the TCU network.

What are the benefits?

The institute will consist of large- and small-group sessions, and 1:1 consultations with Koehler Center faculty developers as requested. Throughout the institute, you will be provided with the tools, time, guidance, and support needed to design an aligned, learner-centered course. You will leave the institute with a sound course structure, the beginnings of relevant instructional materials, and a peer-reviewed draft of a syllabus.

Institute Overview

During the Institute

The institute will consist of four morning meetings to provide hands-on practice with writing measurable course learning outcomes; designing ongoing, authentic, and aligned assessments; embedding active learning strategies; refining inclusive practices, and developing a course syllabus. Participants are strongly encouraged to work independently in the afternoons, and consult 1:1 with Koehler Center faculty developers as needed. Participants will be required to complete pre- and post-institute questionnaires, share components of their work for peer review and feedback, and submit a working draft of a course syllabus.

Brief overview of the meeting topics:

  • Day #1: Writing measurable learning outcomes/objectives
  • Day #2: Developing ongoing, authentic, and aligned assessments
  • Day #3: Evaluating and selecting teaching strategies and in-class learning activities that support the desired learning
  • Day #4 Revising course logistics and policies while crafting an accessible, inclusive course syllabus

After the Institute

By the end of each institute, in addition to designing a sound course, you will have had a chance to exchange feedback with a diverse group of colleagues from across our university, allowing for sharing ideas about teaching and gathering new ideas from your peers.

The course (re)design process will continue to occur in subsequent iterations of your course as you will likely continue to revise and fine-tune materials developed during the institute based upon feedback provided. As always, the Koehler Center will be available for ongoing support and consultations after the institute.


Who can register

Any faculty member, graduate student, or post-doc at TCU can register for the TCU Course Design Institute. This is a free professional development opportunity the Koehler Center provides to the TCU community.

How to register

Participants can register for the TCU Course Design Institute on our Events page. You can also call the Koehler Center at 817-257-7434.


Handelsman, J., Miller, S., & Pfund, C. (2007). Scientific Teaching. W. H. Freeman and Company.

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design (2nd ed.). Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).