Learning by Design

Student learning and success in a course are affected by instructional decisions that take place well before the first day of class. Careful planning and attention to a course's design can both facilitate student learning as well as make teaching fulfilling and more satisfying. We offer two iterations of the program, Learning by Design I and II, with the first providing an introduction on designing and preparing to teach a new course or re-designing an existing course. The second reflects and expands upon the content of Learning by Design I, and provides practical applications for faculty to design and use in-class tools and activities.


Please register here. If you have any questions about this program, please contact Dr. Tareq Daher at tareq.daher@unl.edu or (402) 472-4761. If your schedule does not allow you to participate in the program at this moment, but you are interested in learning more about the program and want to learn some course design and teaching strategies at your own pace, please contact Yaoling Wang at yaoling.wang@unl.edu to request access to the program's Canvas course. 

Learning By Design I

This program is designed for faculty who are preparing to teach a new course for the first time and/or who want to re-think or re-envision - in small or big ways - a course that they already have experience teaching. Participants in the program will learn about fundamental course design principles and apply them to the design of a new course or the partial/full re-design of an existing course. Necessary books and lunch will be provided.

This program will meet six times during the semester (weekly) both at Scott (Omaha) and City (Lincoln) campuses. Register for the upcoming semester here.

Fall 2024 Schedule: 
City Campus (Lincoln) Sessions Scott Campus (Omaha) Sessions
Date Room # Time Date Room # Time
10/10/2024 KH A001 11:30 am - 12:45 pm 10/09/2024 PKI 250 11:00 am - 12:15 pm
10/17/2024 10/16/2024
10/31/2024 10/30/2024
11/07/2024 11/06/2024
11/14/2024 11/13/2024
11/21/2024 11/20/2024

Program Details

Session 1 description: The first session overviews the backward design framework's three stages (identifying desired results, determining acceptable evidence, and planning learning experiences). Participants identify a unit in an existing or future course they are teaching and complete the Backward design worksheet. Suggested RBISs are self-reflection and gallery walk.

Session 2 description: The second session focuses on learning goals. Blooms’ cognitive, psychomotor, and affective domains are introduced. Faculty will individually develop learning goals for their unit. Then pair up to review each other’s’ goals based on guidelines demonstrated in the session. The third activity will be to align learning goals with ABET or other accreditation outcomes.

Session 3 description: The third session focuses on assessment. Three types of assessments for understanding are introduced. For each type, examples of CATs are provided. Participants develop an assessment that aligns with the learning goals they defined in session 2. The assessment is based off the CAT book.

Session 4 description: The fourth session continues the conversation on assessment, with a focus on developing rubrics. Three types of rubrics are introduced and participants align rubrics with assessments they created in session three. Participants create a rubric for the assessment and then work in pairs to evaluate each other’s and refine their rubrics.

Session 5 description: The fifth session focuses on designing a learning plan. Participants identify formative assessments that aid student learning and use the WHERETO model to develop a learning plan that aligns with their learning goals (session 2) and assessments (session3).

Session 6 description: The last session of this program is focused on building the unit in Canvas. The session begins with an overview of Canvas. Each participant will have an empty course shell. Participants develop the primary components in the LMS including adding their learning goals, assessments, and activities.

The Learning By Design sessions are part of the ARISE Program. ARISE is an institutional-level program aimed at enriching the way STEM courses are taught at UNL.  It is a three-year, $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the WIDER (Widening Implementation & Demonstration of Evidence-Based Reforms) Program

For information about the ARISE program contact:

Dr. Lance Perez (PI and Project Director)—lperez1@unl.edu

Funding Provided 
Project Led
NSF logo UNL Logo

Learning By Design II

Learning by Design II reflects on the fundamental course design principles discussed in first program, and expands on the content to provide an in-depth, practical professional development experience for faculty to design and use in-class tools and activities. This program is a required component of the 3rd year of the Faculty Teaching Fellows program; additionally, faculty who have completed Learning by Design I are invited to register. Participants will meet for 1 online session, 2 in-person sessions, and will be required to meet with an instructional designer. Register for the upcoming semester here.

Spring 2024 Schedule
Session Date Location Time
Session 1: Backward Design Review Week of February 5th, 2024 Online
Session 2: Meet and Reflect 1 on 1 With a Colleague Week of February 12th, 2024 Individually determined
Session 3: Strategies to Use in the Classroom February 23rd, 2024 In-person; NH W192 11:00am-12:30pm
Session 4: Survey and Webform Platforms in the Classroom March 1st, 2024 In-person; NH W192 11:00am-12:30pm
Session 5: Meet with Instructional Designer to Discuss Application and Implementation Due March 24th, 2024 Individually determined

Program Details

Session 1 (online): Review of Backward Design framework

Session 2 (individual): 1 on 1 reflection with a colleague on your use of Backward Design practices, including your current practices and future implementation.

Session 3 (in-person): Strategies to use in the classroom; focusing on Stage 3 of Backward Design.

Session 4 (in-person): Qualtrics in the classroom; focusing on Stage 2 and 3 of Backward Design.

Session 5 (individual): Meet with an instructional designer to discuss application and implementation of strategies that you developed in Session 3. Instructions can be found here.