Design Your Course

A well-designed course is probably the most important step in having a successful and enjoyable teaching and learning experience at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Designing a course is like planning a trip, a learning journey designed to take your students to a new place of knowledge and understanding.

Course Design Expectations

The amount of course designing (“trip planning”) you need to do varies by program. Some programs have common syllabi, where the assignments and weekly content topics are already designed. In that scenario, you would only need to design the weekly class sessions. Check with your program director to determine what you need to accomplish.

You can read Saint Mary’s definitions of Online, Remote, and Emergency Remote modalities here.

Wholly Online Courses

If you are teaching a completely asynchronous online course, chances are that we already designed it for you. If you are asked to design a new online course, our partners at Wiley or our in-house faculty development team can guide you through the course design process. Contact your program director for more information.

Students generally take fully online courses to meet the demands of their complicated schedules, and can have trouble meeting synchronously. To meet those students’ needs, Saint Mary’s has guidelines for the use of of synchronous sections in fully online courses.

Remote/Blended and Face-to-Face Courses

If you are teaching a remote or blended course (a mix of asynchronous and synchronous learning — either via Zoom or face-to-face) or a face-to-face course, there may be a previous syllabus already that you could revise. Contact your program director more information.

Designing Your Course

You can begin planning your “trip” by designing your course. For your students’ “trip,” you will need to decide:

  • Where you want them go (student learning objectives)
  • How you will get them to their destination (instructional experience you design)
  • How you will know when they arrive (course assignments as assessment tools)
  • How you will communicate their travel plan (course syllabus)

The Big Picture

We will walk you through the process for designing and teaching your Saint Mary’s course. During this process, you will need to:

  1. Design your course
  2. Set up your course
  3. Teach your course
  4. Grade your course
  5. Improve your course

The Course Design Process

Course designing takes time, careful planning, and never ends. A good course is one that continuously evolves, becoming better and better through reflection and revision. One of the best ways to begin designing your course is to see what teaching excellence looks like at Saint Mary’s. Review the end of course evaluation and the course observation form to learn how your course and teaching will be evaluated. In addition, you can follow Saint Mary’s course designing process, which includes:

  1. Estimating course hours
  2. Understanding students
  3. Creating assignments
  4. Planning activities
  5. Selecting textbooks
  6. Writing your syllabus