Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Course
This guest post is by Emily Haagenson, Instructional Designer in the Center for Teaching and Learning.
The academic year isn’t quite over, but spring is here, and this may be the best time for you to prepare for AY 23-24! These "spring cleaning" suggestions can help you thoroughly review, clean up, and revise your course.
As you begin to make edits make sure you are working on this coming year’s course (see the AY 23-24 in the top right of the CoursePlus window)! If the AY 23-24 site has not yet been set up yet, contact your instructional designer or CTL Help for assistance.
Update your Assignments
Have you heard about a teaching strategy you’ve been eager to try? Are you looking for more active learning opportunities for students? More engagement opportunities? Did your class size or format change? Now might be a good time to rework something before next year. Reach out to an instructional designer or request a consultationfor a brainstorming session or at least some resources, insight, or ideas!
Even if you are satisfied with the course assignments, this might be a good opportunity to read through the assignment instructions and materials:
- Do you want to evaluate some of your grading or feedback techniques?
- Do all of your assignments have landing pages? (They should! CTL encourages landing pages for all your assignments so that instructions, Drop Boxes, online library resources, etc. are all on one convenient landing page.)
- Are assignment instructions and resources up-to-date, including any dates and hyperlinks?
- Are the course assignments inclusive and accessible?
Update your Syllabus
When was the last time you looked closely at your course syllabus? Is it still reflective of your overall course design? The syllabus, including course schedule and faculty pages, are publicly available and linked from the course catalog. Students use these pages to choose whether to take your course; make sure all the information is accurate and updated!
- Are your objectives still right for the course? Are all of the objectives being assessed appropriately? Do they need to change or do the assessments need to be adjusted?
- Are your Methods of Assessment percentage breakdowns accurate?
- Do you have a Methods of Assessment Details section? (This section provides clear expectations for course assignments to students beyond just percentages.)
- Does your “Why Take This Course” section accurately and enticingly advertise the course to prospective students?
- Does the order of the sections on your syllabus make sense? (You can rearrange them!)
- Is the faculty page up to date?
- Do you need to submit any changes in content linked to the BSPH course system for approval?
Update your Online Library
- Do all the links work?
- Is all the material timely or should some readings be updated for the next offering?
- Is it well organized? Are you using folders to organize materials by week, module, or assignment?
- Are you using e-Reserves for distributing copyright-protected materials?
- Have you considered how your resources are tied to emerging or underrepresented experts and topics?
Update your Lecture Content
Take a moment to reflect on the best way for students to practice, internalize, and apply what you are teaching in order to accomplish the course learning objectives. CTL can help you curate and present learning activities, podcasts, and a variety of video formats including PowerPoint based lectures.
- Would the course benefit from new, fresh content? Should this be a full audio + PowerPoint lecture, a full video, an additional section added to an existing lecture?
- Do you have self-recorded lectures you were using temporarily that should be recorded more professionally with CTL?
- Do your course or lecture evaluations provide insights that inspire adjustments?
- Do you want to add in-lecture quizzes to your audio + PowerPoint lectures as knowledge checks for students?
CTL can record or work on your lectures with you any time before the term deadline, check the Recording Timelines page of the CTL Toolkit site in order to plan ahead. As you consider course recordings for the upcoming year, please reach out to a member of the instructional design team with your plan so that we can help.
Are You Ready to Get Started?
Whether you need more inspiration or support with course design, lecture production, or your CoursePlus site, CTL is here to help. The instructional design team looks forward to working with you this spring or any time you’re ready to clean up!