Craft a course that is well-designed, fun, enlightening and has both ambitious and attainable learning goals.

What does one do to craft a course that is incredible?  What resources or knowledge base does an instructor follow?  The answer to these question lies in teaching what you already know, using your strengths to do it and making sure that what you want the students to get out of the course is truly clear and succinct.

Crafting a course requires the following tools:

  • Writing essential questions
  • Using measurable objectives
  • Following a grading system that is both fearless and fair

First, writing essential questions is, well, essential and is not very difficult to do.  Simply stated, get right into the nuts and bolts of the matter. (Wiggins and McTighe, 2005)  Look to find the heart of the subject matter and ask questions from there.  Using backward design is a great way to accomplish this – you think about what, in the end, you want students to learn and go backward from there. (Wiggins and McTighe, 2005)  Questions should be able to answered specifically but also spark new thoughts and lead a student to ask more questions.

Example: How is interpersonal communication applicable in your every day life?

Second, using measurable objectives ensures that we are gauging a student’s work as great or grow based on variables that are known to be reflective of such.  Using action verb statements is key.  Action verbs are measurable.  Many other word forms are not. (

Example: WRITE the definition of interpersonal communication.

Third, following a fearless and fair grading system means that you have clearly stated what the grading system is, given great thought to point values, percentages, and the like and that you have created a grading system that is universal and fair for all students. (Wiggins and McTighe, 2005)

Example: Should a student’s online presence and participation be worth the greatest point value?

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2005) Understanding by design. (Expanded 2nd ed.) Alexandria: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

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