Course Development and Instructional Design #8

8 There is consistency in course development for student retention and quality.

Deficient      Developing      Accomplished     Exemplary

All courses are built upon specific program competencies and Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) that are published on the School’s web site. Each course syllabus clearly states the competencies and SLOs associated with the course. Assignments are directly linked to the applicable SLO(s).

As instructors plan their classes and develop their syllabi, they determine which Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes) their classes address, and this information appears on each course syllabus. Multiple sections of a single course share the same Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes), agreed upon by the course instructors, with guidance by the assigned full-time faculty members who provide leadership for specific course clusters.  Each course cluster encompasses a group of related courses under the leadership of three to five full-time faculty members with expertise in these areas. To view the course clusters and associated full-time faculty leads, as well as a list of all courses in each cluster, view this web page.

In addition to defined Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes), each course has specific Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs).  Each assignment is linked to the CLOs that the particular assignment fulfills, with this information indicated on each course syllabus. All sections of a single course share common Course Learning Outcomes, although individual instructors have the freedom to meet those objectives through their own assignments and class activities.  To help instructors establish CLOs for their courses, link CLOs to assignments, and indicate those links on their syllabi, we developed a tutorial that guides instructors through this process.

When developing a new course, or if an instructor wants to change CLOs or Core Competencies for a current course, the instructor submits the proposed Core Competencies and CLOs to the co-chairs of the School’s Curriculum and Program Development Committee for review via a restricted form. The Curriculum and Program Development Committee co-chairs examine the proposed assignments and Student Learning Outcomes to be sure they fulfill the chosen competencies.

These connections between Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes), CLOs, and course assignments are publicly available on our syllabi. In addition, students can easily view the Core Competencies and Student Learning Outcomes for each course by using this database. (To use the database, click on a specific course, and then the Core Competencies and Course Learning Outcomes for the course will be displayed.) They can also search for courses that address each Core Competency using this tool, which displays a list of courses that support each Core Competency.  (To use the tool, select any Core Competency and then view all courses that support the competency.)

The Online Teaching Standards and Indicators provide clear guidelines regarding course design, content, instructor contribution to the course, interaction and collaboration, assessment, and use of technology.

San Jose State University is a member of Quality Matters (QM), a faculty driven, peer review process that is designed to certify the quality of online courses. The QM rubric of standards is widely recognized as a guide to quality online course design.  Membership in QM also includes access to training and professional development materials regarding online teaching. Several iSchool faculty attended the introductory QM workshop and have shared their knowledge in T3 sessions with other faculty members.

Regular peer reviews provide the opportunity to revisit the standards and continually improve course design and delivery.

Student feedback via the University’s Student Opinion of Teaching Effectiveness (SOTE) provides faculty members quantitative and qualitative data about student satisfaction with individual courses.

 Next: Course Development and Instructional Design #9

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