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Ryan Lepic, PhD, Linguistics:

Why did you take the Course Redesign workshop?

"Much of what new teachers know about teaching, we've learned from observing our own teachers. This applies to how we design our courses, as well. We are trained to do research and be experts in our fields, but few of us have been formally trained to write an effective syllabus. At the same time, there is quite a bit of research out there about the science of teaching and learning. Many of us simply don't know much about this research, or don't have the time to invest in order to become experts. I took the Course Redesign Workshop because I was interested to learn how to best incorporate evidence-based practices into my courses, and I wanted to get a good foundation to build on for my future courses. Since we have to do this preparation anyway, why not make sure we're using our time wisely?"

What were your key takeaways from the workshop?

"The workshop is very practical: you bring in (digital copies of) your previous course material, and the staff in the Center for Engaged Teaching provides you with tools and opportunities to redesign your learning outcomes, your assessments, and your quarterly schedule. So, you leave the workshop with a concrete product -- the redesigned syllabus. It was also a great experience getting to know the other instructors from various departments on campus. It was a friendly and energetic group that I definitely would not have had the opportunity to meet, otherwise!"

How will your students specifically benefit from what you learned?

"One of the key ideas from the workshop is "beginning with the end in mind": what specific abilities or concepts do we want our students to have at the end? How will we know that our students have developed the skills we want? A big part of having a plan is communicating your plan to your students. Because we discuss how to make intentional course decisions in the workshop, it's an easy next step to explain to students why our course is structured the way it is. I think this transparency helps students to better understand how to succeed in class, and helps me as the instructor to meet my students at their current level of understanding. This is student-centered learning!"


Marieke Toffolo, PhD, Postdoc Research Fellow in Psychiatry and Chair of the UCSD Postdoctoral Association):

"I would recommend the Course Design Studio to anyone who works in Academia! This Studio will truly give you a fresh perspective on teaching and hands-on experience with designing a course. I know it is quite a commitment, but worth every minute of your time. I believe it is a unique opportunity to reflect on why and how you want to teach and what you want your students to learn. It has made me more confident to try out new teaching methods and be more transparent to my students. In these 3 days I've developed a complete new syllabus with original assessment methods and new interactive learning tools to get students engaged. I feel much more prepared for my next course, but possibly even more importantly, I feel energized and inspired! I can't wait to put my new skills into practice and use the other (personalized) resources CET has to offer to keep improving my teaching style."