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School of Sustainability Policy on Course Coordination

The School of Sustainability offers core curricula for multiple degree programs both in person and online. To ensure consistency in learning outcomes across courses taught by different faculty through different media, both online and in-person we have embarked upon a process of course coordination. This policy sets the guidelines for this process, to provide clarity about the purpose, goals and structure of the course coordination process.

The main purpose and goals of course coordination are:

  1. Consistency in learning outcomes across different versions of each course: For each course, faculty should agree on at least 3-5 learning outcomes for all versions of the course, both in person and online, across all campuses. (This does not necessarily mean that the design, content or delivery of the course are the same – just the general learning outcomes).
  2. Coordination among various faculty and instructors teaching a course, including the integration of instructor feedback into course design.
  3. Providing a main point of contact for the instructional designers for each course. Faculty will work with IDs to improve all versions of our courses, both in person and online, across all campuses.
  4. Ensuring that there is one Master version of each of our online courses, rather than each person who teaches the course having their own version of the online course unless there is a valid educational or organizational reason for having more than one. For in person courses, the latter is OK.

Policies regarding course leads, course design and roles:

  1. Instructors should not be making significant changes to online course content or organization (on their own or with help of an ID) – this should be coordinated through the course coordination process
  2. Course coordinator will not be making unilateral decisions about how everyone has to teach a course. Decisions regarding changes should be made collectively, by compromise or consensus including all who teach the course. Learning outcomes are higher priority than ease of teaching.
  3. IDs serve as a guide and help facilitate this process, but the course coordinator should be the one to take the lead in setting up meetings of faculty, initiate discussions about changes that need to be made, and bring group to a final decision which is then communicated clearly to the ID. IDs are not making any decisions about courses on their own.
  4. All course instructors / teaching faculty must be included in the long-term discussions about the courses they teach, and their feedback needs to be heard. Anyone on sabbatical or other leave will be excused. (it’s ok if not everyone can make it to every meeting, but not ok if one person is never there)

Steps:

  1. Candice confirms faculty willingness to serve for each course and lays out the basic process
  2. Faculty Committees and faculty approve process and course coordinators
  3. Course coordinator reaches out to IDs to set up a time to meet
  4. Course coordinator meets with IDs and Caroline to go over big picture, begin course assessment
  5. Course coordinator reaches out to all others who teach the course and sets up a time to meet (including IDs and copying Candice)
  6. Meeting with all course instructors / faculty – go over and finish course assessment and decide on a plan of action for the course (what is needed to bring all in-person and online versions of course into sync in terms of learning outcomes, and have one version of the online master)