First institution-wide Course Design Institutes


Published 22 April 2022

What could you achieve if you had a whole week to only think about your course and how to make it better for your students? That’s what 34 teaching staff at UNSW Sydney and UNSW Canberra have done in the past month in the first institution-wide Course Design Institutes (CDI). 

The CDI guided participants through a process of designing or redesigning a course focussed around students and their needs. Led by peer facilitators, participants in small groups were introduced to a wide range of innovative practices and ideas, exposed to the experiences and perspectives of their colleagues from different disciplines and, most importantly, given the time to make changes to their course.  

"It was a really inspiring and transforming experience to learn from the facilitators, the speakers, and all the other participants in the course," said Heba El-Fiqi, UNSW Canberra.

At the end of the week, participants had improved learning outcomes and plans for new and memorable assessment tasks to support learning. Their work was presented to colleagues in a “Gallery session”, providing the opportunity to receive feedback and more ideas. 

There were 25 teaching staff from all six Faculties in Sydney and nine academics in Canberra who completed the CDI. Now, a total of 119 UNSW staff from Level A to Level E have been through the program since it was first offered in the Faculty of Engineering in 2018, transforming their courses to the betterment of their students through the process of “Backward Design”.  

“Every academic at UNSW who cares about their teaching should have the opportunity to attend this course. It was a great example of how teaching can be done well. We were able to learn from our fellow students in the class as well as lots of academics from the University. I have come away from it with a practical road map for how I will implement some great teaching practices for my students,” said Katrina Blazek, UNSW Medicine & Health.

The Course Design Institute is best suited to course convenors with at least a few years’ teaching experience, but is open to all teaching staff at UNSW.

Would you like to be a part of the CDI?
The CDI will be offered again in Term 2 Week 11 (4 - 8 August 2022). 

Find out more


Enjoyed this article? Share it with your network!