New course preparations require a significant amount of work in the design of many levels of detail. The wide brushstrokes encompass the arch of the course for example: how learning goals and objectives are embedded. The small brushstrokes involve crafting each module and making logical choices regarding the activities and assignments offered for specific outcomes. With preparations complete the course runs. Some things work, some do not. You gather feedback. Emerging issues and hot topics that energize activities and resources become passé, this is fashion we are teaching here, no?
I am facing the daunting task of going back through my course (developed 3 years ago) with a fine-toothed comb to replace and refresh my materials, re-shaping the modules to include more recent and relevant course content. My challenge has been to re-fresh the course without necessarily re-developing the course.
Resources: Generally, I pair readings on the subject with support materials including articles, case studies and web links. Before running an established course I make sure to “walk through” my resources. I switch out dead web-links, take out dated resources replacing with one or two recent resources. The central aspects remain (e.g. the book chapter on color theory) while the ancillary or supporting aspects (such as the pantone color of the year circa 2010) are updated.
Activities: I try and activate my assignments enveloping them in the most recent concepts available to me. My activities shift in type of theme (i.e. trend in print). What was “Bedazzle” three seasons ago is now “Grown”. The overall output remains the same (e.g., based on current trend in print develop 5 conversational prints).
Similar to course resources, the key with activities is that the core remains solid, while the theme that is adapted. Worn Through readers, how do you who keep your courses fresh? I would be interested in hearing from you, Happy Teaching!