Course Design in Higher Education: Course Design Institute

Michael V. Drake Institute for Teaching and Learning

Instructors who wish to design significant, effective, and assessable learning opportunities can benefit from ongoing practice and support with preparation through intensive training in student-centered course design. In this Course Design in Higher Education pathway, you will receive expert support in learning and applying the backward design process. This endorsement provides participants with the tools, time and support they need as they work to build or rebuild effective, student-centered courses.


This pathway provides instructors a structured way to (re)design a course of their choosing. Most university instructors have a great deal of experience with student-teacher interaction and many have received some preparation for that element of teaching. However, very few have any structured, formal preparation for designing significant, effective, and assessable learning opportunities. The Drake Institute's Course Design Institute (CDI) provides that preparation through an intensive multi-part workshop in which instructors, with hands-on guidance from experts, focus on designing or redesigning a specific course. Regular reflection, feedback, and peer-interaction are built into the process, enabling participants to learn from and support each other. The CDI provides participants with the tools, time and support they need as they work to build or rebuild effective, student-centered courses.

Learning Outcomes
  • Articulate and align course goals and learning outcomes for a given course.
  • Create appropriate course evaluation tools aligned with learning outcomes.
  • Design appropriate, effective and efficient evaluation and assessment tools for your chosen learning outcomes.
  • Make discipline specific decisions regarding which content to include in a course.
  • Evaluate which pedagogical tools and teaching styles will be most appropriate for the context, goals, and outcomes of an individual course.
  • Devise appropriate assessment methods to determine the success of your designed course.
Participation Requirements

Participants can choose from one of five different Course Design Institutes (CDIs) offered by the Drake Institute.  Completion of one institute is needed to fulfill the Course Design for Higher Education endorsement. Requirements include the following:

  • To participate in a CDI, you must first apply and then be accepted
  • Participants must attend all sessions of that CDI
  • Participants meet for 12-15 hours (either 4 or 5 sessions of 3-3.5 hours each) 
  • Time to complete activities at home is expected for each CDI (about 2-4 hours each week)



The final teaching endorsement application will require you to upload your completed Integrated Course Plan from your Course Design Institute Portfolio.

Required Hours
Timeline for Completion
2-5 weeks