5. Build a community
Development over time
Course planning is an iterative process, and it is normal to go back and forth between the various stages. A specific teaching activity can demonstrate that students learn other things than you had planned, and you can go back to step 1 and 2 to nuance the learning goal and adjust the plans for assessment accordingly. Some teachers will also discover that the intended learning outcomes cannot be implemented in practice within the framework conditions for the teaching, or that the students lack relevant prior knowledge.
From semester to semester, it is normal to want to keep developing the course, and backward design is a flexible framework for continuous development.
Build a community
An important part of the work to develop good teaching at UiO is to try to make the previously individual teaching practices public. Good conversations about the what, how and why of teaching will contribute to more knowledge, more research-based teaching, and increased student learning.
To achieve this, you need a community. You are not alone in your teaching, and you are encouraged to use your colleagues for discussions and support. Many faculties have dedicated resources who can contribute to such discussions.
Documentation of educational development is compiled in a teaching portfolio, and is relevant for employment, promotion and teaching merits.
The teaching portfolio may contain reflections on your own teaching philosophy, examples of course plans and student evaluations, as well as documentation of changes in teaching practices that show development over time.
The educational development at UiO focuses on the so-called Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) principles:
- Students' learning in focus
- Reflection on own practice and development over time
- A research-based approach
- Sharing knowledge in a collegiate community
The goal is for everyone who teaches to take a researcher's perspective on their own teaching, and contribute to the development of education at UiO over time. These web pages about course planning with backwards design is a key part of this work.
Questions for the road ahead:
- What minor change do you plan to make the next time you teach?
- How do you plan to document the effect of the change?
- How will you manage changes to your teaching along the way?
- How can students' prerequisites help shape your teaching?
- How will the framework conditions (time, space, resources) affect your teaching?
- Can you invite colleagues to observe you for input and support?
- How can you contribute to an environment of educators at your local institution?