Organizing a course is a circular process of organizing content, defining learning outcomes, outlining assessments, and deciding on how to facilitate interactions between class members. In addition, plan ahead to ensure resilience of teaching and learning in case of temporary disruption to normal class and campus operations.
Predictable Weekly Pattern
To help you organize the course workload and students’ study schedule, create a predictable weekly pattern for you to follow – whether your course is online, blended, hybrid, or in-person. Predictable weekly patterns don’t actually have to be weekly. They can be organized by any logical unit of time, theme, or content area that makes sense for your course. The key is really the predictability of the workload so that students know what to expect. The more transparent the course is to students, the easier it becomes to engage them in meaningful interactions, both in and out of class time.
Align Lecture and Section
Ensure that lecture and section are in sync so that students experience a large course cohesively and holistically within a dynamic research university setting.
Create Your Syllabus
Visit the Creating a Syllabus page for UCSB’s syllabus template, a checklist, sample language for syllabus policies and more.
Prepare Your Materials
For many years, assigning a discipline- or course-specific textbook has been the standard for instruction, but that standard is changing. Other resources such as images, films, recorded labs, or interactive simulations can also be used to help students prepare for lecture and/or section each week. Ask yourself:
- What has been assigned in the past, and should that material be updated?
- What materials will help students meet course learning objectives?
- What kinds of resources will appeal to students, or make the subject relevant?
- Does your content follow accessibility guidelines so you can support all students?
Plan Your Lessons
Giving a good lecture or lesson takes organization and planning. All lesson plans should consist of at least the following elements, which are also included on this lesson planning template:
- At least 1 learning objective that is specific to that day.
- A list of required teaching materials.
- A list of specific topic points.
- A list of activities you will use during class (pairs/small groups, lecture, polls, demonstrations, media viewing, students at the board, etc.).
- Some way that you will gauge student understanding before the end of class.
- Associated homework, topics, and section activities (where applicable) for TAs to review during lab/section.
Course Formats and Teaching Modalities
As you engage in this circular process, you will also need to consider how the course format (in-person, blended, flipped, hybrid, or online) and educational technologies might best support student learning. Carefully structuring your course to take advantage of the best pedagogical strategies and appropriate technologies for your content and teaching style can greatly benefit your students. The teaching modalities below outline course formats that are not fully in-person.
Blended, Flipped and Hybrid Courses
Highly blended, flipped or hybrid courses are designed to use a great deal of online materials, communication, interactions, and activities. Blended and flipped courses typically meet in person for every class period. However, hybrid courses (as defined by UCSB) meet in person for less than 50% of their scheduled weekly meeting hours. Currently, hybrid courses are not subject to Senate approval.
Dual-Mode, live-streamed Classes
Dual-mode teaching, sometimes referred to as “synchronous livestream, hybrid or hyflex” teaching, allows students to join your live class either in-person or synchronously online. It can make your course more accessible to students, but requires careful planning, comfort with relevant technologies, a helper, and the ability to engage two unique populations of students simultaneously.