Chapter 4 – Step 4 in the Process

Action 11: Advance course and instructional design

Design detailed curriculum elements, including program instruction and assessment

It is possible instructors who have been aware of but not involved in the curriculum design are now preparing to design courses and teach in the new program.  Courses are designed by individual people who may not know the full vision of the program, including the full breadth of desired assessment and instructional practices.


Develop a process for onboarding new people to the curriculum project, so they understand the intentions of the curriculum, the role or the part they are responsible for, and any common expectations about course outcomes, assessment, and instructional approaches. This is particularly critical for sessional or other contract instructors who are not long-standing department members or administrative staff. This might mean a course design retreat for all course designers, or working from a common course template, or working in small teams.


Once oriented and depending on the extent of integration, scaffolding, and coordination in the new curriculum, instructors may be able work independently on completing the design for the course they will teach. 


Some programs and instructors may require additional communication and coordination if the curriculum relies on specific skills or knowledge development across courses and years.
For a curriculum that has important prerequisite chains, has been designed to build competencies, or intends to provide integration for students over time, develop a coordinated process for detailed course design.  

Process Tips ✔

  • Develop an orientation-type package of supporting materials or program for instructors coming on board in Step 4.
  • Additional professional learning and development may be needed and the GMCTL can often deliver or collaborate on such programming.



Good Signs! 🏁

What is need to complete the detailed design?

⊕  Documents and common understanding exist of the intentions of the curriculum, and any common expectations about course outcomes, assessment, and instructional approaches.

⊕  Processes and professional development are in place to support instructors making final course plans.

⊕  An onboarding process is set for new faculty, sessional instructors or other non-faculty instructors.



Warning Signs 🏴

Faculty are resistant or unwilling to:

⊗  Align what and how they teach to the collectively designed and approved curriculum

⊗  Share plans (e.g., syllabi) early on, preferring to keep their teaching private




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Curriculum Design Guide Copyright © by Susan Bens; Sara Dzaman; Aditi Garg; and Wendy James is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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