Instructional Technology and Design


CDs about Teaching Seminars

Sipress, J. & Voelker, D. (Magna Publications). (January 23, 2013). Beyond coverage: Backward design for disciplinary thinking [Online Seminar CD].

Beyond Coverage: Backward Design for Disciplinary Thinking
How do we ever find time to teach students how to think when there is so much information they need to know? It’s a common conundrum in entry-level general education courses. Maybe the answer is to turn that operating assumption on its head. In other words, stop trying to cover all that content and start focusing on the kind of thinking you really want to see in your students. That’s the idea behind backward design.

This 60-minute presentation covers how to:

  • Use a backward design process to develop or revise a course
  • Identify ways of thinking and constructing knowledge that are appropriate for a disciplinary general education course
  • Refocus course design—including classroom activities, assignments, and assessments—on disciplinary thinking rather than on coverage

There really isn’t anything backward about backward design. In fact, it is a powerful tool that can help you clarify your learning goals, bring your assignments and exams into alignment with these goals, and better use classroom activities to cultivate the student learning that you value most.