Innovative Course Design Workshop I: What’s the Big Idea? (Recap)

Facilitator: Julia K. Metzker
Date: 22 Sep 17, 2:30-4pm
Topic: What’s the Big Idea? Using capacious dilemmas, issues and questions to frame your course.

Workshop Goals

  • to apply intentional design principles to your course (re)design.
  • identify a dilemma, issue or question to frame a course (re)design.

On 22 Sep 17, Stetson faculty participated in the first workshop in a five-part course design series.  This first workshop explored the idea of using open-ended or unsolved dilemmas, issues or questions (DIQs) as an organizing principle for your course design.

<<download the handouts or review the presentation>>

NOTE: The concepts in this series will build over each workshop.  The prezi will also evolve as we move through the series.

Learn …

After introductions, Julia reviewed the research and initiatives that undergird the workshop series.  The handout contains descriptions – below you will find links for further learning.

As a group, we reviewed some example Dilemmas, Issues and Questions (DIQs) using the following criteria:

  1. Is the D.I.Q.  broad enough to encompass the disciplinary content and skills you intend for your students to gain?
  2. Is it engaging and relatable to students?
  3. Is it appropriately complex?
  4. Is it sufficiently aligned to your course goals?

UPSHOT: Not all D.I.Q’s are made equal – you may need to consider a few before you find the one that BEST meets your needs.

After reviewing an example or two, we started to think about the big ideas that got each of us interested in our discipline …  and how we can provide a connection for students to become engaged with these ideas.

For an example of a redesigned first-semester chemistry course, visit

Practice …

Before the next workshop, please complete the following:

  1. Identify a single course you want to design or (re)design.  You can certainly go through the series thinking about all your courses but in general you’ll be better prepared to do it again if you see the process through if you are working on a single course.
  2. Work through pages 9-11 in the handout.
  3. Complete the Teaching Goals Inventory (TGI).  The TGI will help you identify what types of outcomes for students you MOST value.  Bring your report with you to the next workshop.