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Planning for Conceptual

Understanding:

A New Approach to Course Design

Edmund Hansen

Dir., Ctr. for Teaching & Learning Northeastern Illinois University

e-hansen@neiu.edu

Intended Outcomes

1.

Recognize the benefits of a model of course

design that emphasizes students’ conceptual

understanding of course material

2.

Apply a new approach for defining learning

outcomes

3.

Explore how to align learning outcomes with student assessment activities

4.

Investigate the functions of the components in

this new approach to course design

Workshop Outline

9:00

Intro to our sample course for today

9:15

Selecting Big Ideas

9:30

Identifying Enduring Understandings

9:50

BREAK

10:00 Choosing Learning Outcomes 10:30 Creating Authentic Performance Tasks 10:55 BREAK 11:05 Formulating Performance Criteria

11:20 Identifying Needed Abilities

11:40 Strengths of this Approach & Your Feedback

Big Ideas

Enduring

Understandings

Learning

Outcomes

Key Concepts,

Misconceptions, Essential Questions

A A.1 A.2 A.1.1 A.1.2 A.2.1 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
A
A.1
A.2
A.1.1
A.1.2
A.2.1
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
A A.1 A.2 A.1.1 A.1.2 A.2.1 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 B C B.1
B C B.1 B.2 C.1 C.2 B.1.1 B.2.1 B.2.2 C.1.1 C.2.1 3, 8 - 13
B
C
B.1
B.2
C.1
C.2
B.1.1
B.2.1
B.2.2
C.1.1
C.2.1
3, 8 - 13
6, 11, 14 - 20
B.1.1 B.2.1 B.2.2 C.1.1 C.2.1 3, 8 - 13 6, 11, 14 - 20 Perform. Tasks
Perform. Tasks Performance Criteria I.1 Needed Abilities a I b I.2 c d 1.3 e

Perform. Tasks

Performance

Criteria

I.1

Needed Abilities

a

I

b

I.2 c d
I.2
c
d
1.3 e f
1.3
e
f
II.1 g h
II.1
g
h

II

k

Tasks Performance Criteria I.1 Needed Abilities a I b I.2 c d 1.3 e f II.1
II.2 i j
II.2
i
j
II.3 l
II.3
l
Big Ideas A B C Enduring A.1 A.2 B.1 B.2 C.1 C.2 Understandings Learning Outcomes
Big Ideas
A
B
C
Enduring
A.1
A.2
B.1
B.2
C.1
C.2
Understandings
Learning
Outcomes
A.1.1
A.1.2
A.2.1
B.1.1
B.2.1
B.2.2
C.1.1
C.2.1
Perform. Tasks
I
II
Performance
I.1
I.2
1.3
II.1
II.2
II.3
Criteria
Needed Abilities
a
b
c
d
e
f
g
h
i
j
k
l

The Sample Course

Context: High percentage of immigrant

students at NEIU

FYE program mandatory for all entering freshmen

Courses taught in all disciplines around

Diversity in Chicago theme

Courses require teaching of study skills

Course description in Appendix 2

• Individually review info on FYE course • Discuss in group: How would you teach

Individually review info on FYE course

Discuss in group: How would you teach this course?

How to deal with the dual focus?

What are the other challenges?

What should be the main outcomes?

12 Pictures from Istvan Banyai’s

12 Pictures from Istvan Banyai’s E. Hansen POD - 2009 8

Big Ideas

Why start here?

• Position L.O’s w/in larger curriculum

Thereby facilitate interdisciplinary teaching

• Provide more context for L.O’s

Steer course away from mere knowledge

Limit the scope of the course

Big Ideas

What are they?

See examples in Appendix 3

• The glue (“conceptual Velcro”) that holds the field together

Important meta-concepts and theories

• Provide “conceptual lenses” for whole

knowledge domains

May cut across several disciplines

From Big Ideas to Learning Outcomes

A A.1 A.2 A.1.1 A.1.2 A.2.1
A
A.1
A.2
A.1.1
A.1.2
A.2.1
B B.1 B.2 B.1.1 B.2.1 B.2.2
B
B.1
B.2
B.1.1
B.2.1
B.2.2

Big Ideas

Enduring

Understandings

Learning

Outcomes

C C.1 C.2 C.1.1 C.2.1
C
C.1
C.2
C.1.1
C.2.1

Enduring Understandings

Why yet another step?

Selected with your students’ experiential and intellectual horizon in mind

Need to be uncovered

Make transfer possible across domains (function as major themes)

Enduring Understandings

What are they?

See examples in Appendix 6

Derivations from Big Ideas

• Key elements of Big Ideas’ definitions, applications, or implications

Generalizations central to the discipline

What students should understand past the

end of the course

• Brainstorm a few Big Ideas for the FYE course • Use Worksheet in Appendix

Brainstorm a few Big Ideas for the FYE course

Use Worksheet in Appendix 4

Then review Big Ideas and Enduring Understandings in Appendix 14

Critique & improve!

E. Hansen POD - 2009 15
E. Hansen POD - 2009 16

From Big Ideas to Learning Outcomes

A A.1 A.2 A.1.1 A.1.2 A.2.1
A
A.1
A.2
A.1.1
A.1.2
A.2.1
B B.1 B.2 B.1.1 B.2.1 B.2.2
B
B.1
B.2
B.1.1
B.2.1
B.2.2

Big Ideas

Enduring

Understandings

Learning

Outcomes

C C.1 C.2 C.1.1 C.2.1
C
C.1
C.2
C.1.1
C.2.1

Learning Outcomes

Why learning outcomes? • Translate E.U’s into more concrete expectations for students

Limit the scope of what can be done with

B.I. and E.U. in this course Enable link with assessment tasks

Learning Outcomes

What are they?

Examples (Appendix 6)

Address some key aspects of the Enduring Understandings • Each Learning Outcome is “sampling” one aspect of an Enduring Understanding

Focus on what students will be able to do

Are concrete and measurable

• Discuss the Learning Outcomes in Appendix 14 • Would you have chosen different ones,

Discuss the Learning Outcomes in

Appendix 14

Would you have chosen different ones,

given the B.I’s and E.U’s from which they

are derived?

Your thoughts on the 3-step process of determining outcomes?

Compare:

Your old learning outcomes and your new learning outcomes:

Which ones are better defined?

Can be measured more easily?

Seem more meaningful?

For more examples, see Appendix 7

Big Ideas A B C Enduring A.1 A.2 B.1 B.2 C.1 C.2 Understandings Learning Outcomes
Big Ideas
A
B
C
Enduring
A.1
A.2
B.1
B.2
C.1
C.2
Understandings
Learning
Outcomes
A.1.1
A.1.2
A.2.1
B.1.1
B.2.1
B.2.2
C.1.1
C.2.1
Perform. Tasks
I
II
Performance
I.1
I.2
1.3
II.1
II.2
II.3
Criteria
Needed Abilities
a
b
c
d
e
f
g
h
i
j
k
l

The Oreo Model

of Course Design

Big Ideas Enduring Understandings Learning Outcomes

Design Big Ideas Enduring Understandings Learning Outcomes Performance Task/s Performance Criteria Needed Abilities

Performance Task/s

Enduring Understandings Learning Outcomes Performance Task/s Performance Criteria Needed Abilities E. Hansen POD -

Performance Criteria

Needed Abilities

Understandings Learning Outcomes Performance Task/s Performance Criteria Needed Abilities E. Hansen POD - 2009 23
Understandings Learning Outcomes Performance Task/s Performance Criteria Needed Abilities E. Hansen POD - 2009 23

Authentic Performance Tasks

Why “authentic performance tasks”?

Shift focus to hands-on learning: generate student motivation

Provide evidence whether students truly

“understand” (achieve the L.O’s)

Force instructor to build course around

practice & feedback opportunities

(“assignment-based teaching”)

Authentic Performance Tasks

What are they?

Examples in Appendix 8

Contextualized in a realistic scenario

• Ask students to “do” the subject

Replicate challenging (work) situations

Assess ability to use a repertoire of knowl.

Allow opportunities to practice & get feedb.

Create one for the FYE course

(see Worksheet in Appendix 9) and then…

Create one for the FYE course (see Worksheet in Appendix 9 ) and then… E. Hansen

Performance Criteria

See examples in Appendix 10

Used in rubrics, e.g. Critical Thinking:

Break down a complex task into a set of

discrete expectations

Allow for these expectations to be used in smaller practice activities

Link the performance task with the

learning outcomes

Needed Abilities

Performance

Criteria

Performance Task 1 2 3
Performance Task
1
2
3

Needed

Abilities

a
a
b
b
c
c
d
d
e
e
f
f

Needed Abilities

Why “Needed Abilities”?

Performance criteria are not concrete enough

Complex cognitive skills require multiple

steps

• “Needed Abilities” and “Competencies”

Needed Abilities

What are they?

See examples in Appendix 11. (They still need

to be made course or discipline-specific)

Needed Abilities translate a P.C. into hands-on

action

• Faculty need to explore what their students’ barriers are for performing a task

Then break those barriers down into specific

steps

E. Hansen

POD - 2009

30

30

• Discuss the Performance Criteria and Needed Abilities in Appendix 14 • Do they seem

Discuss the Performance Criteria and Needed Abilities in Appendix 14

Do they seem to match the Performance Tasks?

Do the Abilities seem to address the

Learning Outcomes?

Needed Abilities meet Learning Outcomes

LEARNING OUTCOMES

1.

Analyze key reasons

behind tensions in different immigrant

neighborhoods

2.

Identify respondents with different but relevant perspectives

on certain issues

NEEDED ABILITIES

a.

Brainstorm relevant

questions

b.

Identify missing or inaccessible info

c.

Recognize external influences on own behavior/attitudes

d.

Distrust “gut reactions”

and “pet answers” and learn to “dig deeper”

d. Distrust “gut reactions” and “pet answers” and learn to “dig deeper” E. Hansen POD -

The Course Design Document

Big Ideas Enduring Understandings Learning Outcomes

Authentic Performance Tasks

Performance Criteria

Needed Abilities

Strengths of this Approach

1.

Replaces syllabus with Course Design Document as the course blueprint

2.

Systematically derives Learning

 

Outcomes

3.

Creates connectors across curriculum & disciplines

4.

Achieves curricular alignment

 

Strengths of this Approach

5. Addresses faculty concerns about teaching & student learning through:

a.

Motivational quality of authentic performance

tasks

b.

Transparency of instructor expectations

c.

Expanded time for practice & feedback

6. Connects course design with critical thinking

(not shown today) 7. Defines nine structural elements of course design (APPENDIX 12)

8. Focuses on conceptual understanding, not

content topics

References

Erickson, H.L. (2007). Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction for the Thinking Classroom.

Huba & Freed. (2000). Learner-Centered

Assessment on College Campuses.

McTighe & Wiggins. (2004). Workbook to Understanding by Design.

Tewksbury & McDonald. (2005). On the Cutting

Edge: Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty.

Tomlinson, a.o. (2002). The Parallel Curriculum.

Walvoord & Anderson. (1998). Effective Grading.

Wiggins & McTighe. (2005). Understanding by Design.

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