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Understanding By Design

Learn to design courses that focus on using knowledge in the real world. Understanding by Design is a course design framework that emphasizes identifying and then helping students uncover the understandings that make knowledge useful in life.

The purpose of the course design training

To train faculty members in the Understanding by Design (McTighe and Wiggins) method of course design. The UbD method is characterized by four overarching principles:

  1. A primary goal of education is the development and deepening of student understanding of important ideas.
  2. Evidence of student understanding is revealed through assessments of studentproductsandperformancesviasix“facets”ofunderstanding.
  3. Effectivecurriculum development reflects a 3-stage “backward design” process in which lesson and activity design is shaped by the demands of the goals and assessments.
  4. The use of “design standards” leads to improved quality in curriculum and assessment designs.
Understanding By Design

Outcomes for the course design training

  1. At the conclusion of this training the participants will demonstrate an understanding of the backward design process by:
    1. Discussing the practical and logical benefits that result from designing a course in these three chronological steps
    2. Explaining the relationship between each step.
  2. At the conclusion of this training the participants will demonstrate an understanding of mind mapping course subject-matter by:
    1. Producing a mind map of the subject matter of an assigned course
    2. Explaining the value of the mind map in course design
  3. At the conclusion of this training the participants will demonstrate an understanding of the “identifying desired results” stage of backward design by:
    1. Unpacking course goals and objectives in terms of
      1. Enduring understandings
      2. Essential questions
      3. Knowledge
      4. Skills
      5. Potential misunderstandings
    2. Justifying “desired results (i – v above) ” in light of administratively prescribed course goals and objectives
  4. At the conclusion of this training the participants will demonstrate an understanding of the “determining acceptable evidence” stage of backward design by:
    1. Using the six facets of understanding to identify the evidence required to establish that a student has achieved the desired results for a specific (assigned) course.
    2. Planning assessment activities that will provide the evidence identified in a.
    3. above.
    4. Ensuring at least one activity developed in b. is representative of each of the following types of assessments.
      1. Informal checks
      2. Observations and dialogues
      3. Tests and quizzes
      4. Academic prompts
      5. Performance tasks
    5. Developing a rubric for each of the above assessment exercises
  5. At the conclusion of this training participants will demonstrate an understanding of the “planning learning experiences” stage of backward design by
    1. Developing a unit plan using the “where to” lesson plan approach
    2. “Chunking” a unit utilizing the Instruction- processing- review
  6. At the conclusion of this training the participant will demonstrate an understanding of the process for internal evaluation by
    1. Checking the validity of his assessment decisions against the requirements of his desired results
    2. Justifying the desired results in terms of the administratively prescribed course goals and objectives.
    3. Demonstrating how his lesson plans will prepare the students for the anticipated assessments.
  7. At the conclusion of this training participants will demonstrate and understanding of the entire UbD method by:
    1. Using the ITE UbD template to design a course in class with other participants.

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