Courses grow into curricula

This chapter started with mundane points (a big idea is as big as it needs to be, questions are essential at the course and program level, we should use cross-disciplinary questions) and then moved into a solid review and extension of the previous chapters.

  • Performance tasks frame design so that learners keep focused on the target. These tasks are assessed via rubrics with examples provided at each specific score point; longitudinal rubrics provide a portfolio.
  • Learning must be geared to task performance and that backward designed instruction is a four-part iterative sequence:
  1. that design proceeds backward from the big idea
  2. that learning is a back and forth process between small performances and the whole task
  3. that learning is a back and forth process between instruction and the small performances
  4. that sequence enables learning from results of the small performances without a penalty for failure until the final whole task performance
  • There is a difference between learning the logic of the content (which may be apparent only to experts) and the logic of learning the content (the realm of instruction). The parallel between the utility of a Getting Started manual (and immediate task immersion) and the complete documentation was especially apropos.
  • The (surprising) definitions of scope (the major functions of a social life) and sequence (centers of interest in a student’s life at a particular point in time) resonate with current constructivist theory.
  • The curriculum spirals and involves continuity (recurrent uncoverage), sequence (increasing breadth and depth), and  integration (increased unity of learning or behavior).
  • A syllabus will contain essential questions, core performances, a grading rubric with justification (referencing state or national standards), and a calendar with major learning goals. The key change I see necessary for TeleCampus courses is building in flexibility to adapt the calendar based on feedback of student understanding.