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Course Design as the Base for Student Well-being

students laugh while gathered around a table working on laptops Higher education professionals Demian Hommel and Bradley Cohen reflect on their approach to course design and how it creates the roots for community, belonging, and student well-being in this Faculty Focus article (linked). This piece comes at a time when loneliness is evolving into a new type of national pandemic (linked), particularly for young adults. Going beyond icebreakers (linked) and “tell us your names and major” exercises at the beginning of the semester, Hommel and Cohen emphasize the power of a well designed course whose components are grounded in evidence-based teaching practices, which will allow more opportunities for students to establish a sense of belonging, feel more confident in their learning success, build community (Tyton Partners, 2023), and overall support student well-being (Slavin, Schindler, & Chibnall, 2014).

Suggestions include:

  • Regular polling and checking in with students

  • Make a back channel or class discussion forum available for student conversations, questions and comments, and even (appropriate) memes and jokes

  • Conduct regular formative assessment for students (and yourself!) to gauge their level of understanding, their strength and areas to improve

  • Incorporate reflection exercises or exit tickets (linked) to help cultivate a growth mindset

  • Implement frequent assessments and learning interventions for a chance to provide regular feedback and encouragement

  • Utilize the concept of wise feedback (linked)

Do you want to learn more about evidence based course design and be part of a course design process with the help of a cohort community of enthusiastic Boise State educators and guided by CTL consultants? Apply for the Course Design Institute!