Designing Cycourses

There are a bazillion books, Web pages, and articles on how to design courses. Like this one from Carnegie Mellon.

Here’s another one, called the Cyco Way. The Way is for flipped, blended, assessment-heavy university skills courses. It’s simple enough so you can get started quickly, but it captures some highlights of skill learning.

Proudly invented elsewhere

The ingredients of the Cyco Way come from people like Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins (Understanding By Design), and… well, too many others to count. The Way is a remix of the greatest hits of learning science. The community and software? They bring the Way to life.

Doing complicated things

In architecture, writing… well, everything, you make complex things by decomposing them into simpler things. We’ll start by defining three tasks:

  • Specifying outcomes – what should students be able to do by the end of the course?
  • Modelling the course – make a skeleton for the course, just the high points.
  • Build out the course – flesh out the skeleton with text, exercises, patterns, etc.

Singing skeleton Course design is an art informed by science. You’ll learn about your course as you build it. When you’re writing out detailed instructions for an exercise, you’ll have an idea for another exercise, and change the course model. Such revisions are Good Things.

Let’s start with course outcomes. What should students be able to do by the end of the course?


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