Identifying a Course Goal

What is the goal of your course?

Determining the goal for the course will clarify what you want the students to learn and accomplish. Having the course goal in mind will help you make decisions about:

  • Which content to include,
  • Which teaching methods to use
  • What kinds of assignments are appropriate

When you define the course goal, focus on student learning. Determine what students should be learning in terms of

  • Competencies
  • Cognitive Development
  • Personal Development
  • Content

Questions to consider:

  • What do you want your students to remember from your course in 5-10 years?
  • How should taking your course change students?
  • What skills/ competencies should students gain in this course?
  • How does this course relate to other courses in the discipline?
  • How, then, might you define the course goal accordingly (e.g. for an introductory, fundamental, or advanced course in the discipline)?

Sample Course Goal

By the end of this Introductory course, you will become adept at critically examining important texts we have inherited from the amazing conversation which constitutes the history of philosophy. Starting with such everyday ideas as “thinking” and “seeing,” you will learn to reflect on these as philosophical concepts and to discover any relevant, personal and social meanings, and articulate the basis for your own beliefs about the important questions in human nature, such as what is the human “spirit” or soul, freedom vs. determinism, and whether there is or is not anything for us beyond our physical and corporeal existence.

Further Reading:

Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe’s Understanding by Design published by the Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development; 2nd Expanded edition (March 15, 2005)

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