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10/20/2011
11:00 AM - 1:30 PM
Biomedical/Physical Sciences Room 1400
Colleges of Natural Science and Agriculture and NaturalResources, The Center for Engineering Education Research (College ofEngineering), and Lyman Briggs College

Moving Forward Using Backward Course Design: Alignment of Goals,Instruction, and Assessment

How will you approach planning or designing your next course? Many STEM instructors follow a common path—select a textbook, identify the chapters to be covered, develop lectures, and finally, create exams. Instructional design methods such as Backward Design offer a more deliberate approach to course development. Backward Design (Wiggins and McTighe, 1988) is a conceptual framework that emphasizes the alignment of learning goals and objectives, assessments, and instructional activities. In the first stage, instructors develop specific learning objectives. What are students expected to know, understand, or be able to do after completing the course? Next, the instructor must determine what will serve as acceptable evidence that students have met these objectives (assessment). It is only after these first two steps have been completed that the instructor develops materials such as lectures and assignments that help student to achieve the learning objectives. By using Backward Design, an instructor must identify curricular priorities and assessment methods early. When these priorities have been identified and evaluated, the teacher may then apply the appropriate resources and time to the most important concepts and ideas. Workshop participants will be introduced to the principles of Backward Design and will have the opportunity to apply those principles to their own classes.