Table of Contents
Title Page
Copyright Page
Why Institutions Are So Hard to Change
Designing and Assessing Courses and Curricula
Purpose of the Book
Purposes and Audiences
Overview of the Book
Some Important Suggestions
PART ONE - A Frame of Reference
CHAPTER 1 - A Learning-Centered Approach to Course and Curriculum Design
The Curriculum Is Not Always Equal to or More Than the Sum of Its Parts
The Challenges of Curriculum and Course Design
An Important Relationship
Getting Assistance
Course Design and the Delivery of Instruction
Institutionwide Initiatives
A Brief Introduction to the Model
The Question of Time
Additional Resources
CHAPTER 2 - The Expanding Role of Faculty in Accreditation and Accountability
The Questions Accreditors Ask
The Structure of Accreditation
CHAPTER 3 - Staying Informed
Free and Highly Recommended: General
Free and Recommended: Specific Subjects
Items to Have on Your Bookshelf
Publisher Mailing Lists
Academic Support Centers
CHAPTER 4 - Scholarship and Faculty Rewards
Some Background
Recognizing Course and Curriculum Design as Scholarly Work
CHAPTER 5 - An Introduction to the Model and Its Benefits
A Note About Community Colleges
Need for an Effective Approach
Applying Systems Theory to Instructional Design
Characteristics of the Model
A Key to Success: Start at the Beginning and Explore the Resources You Have Available
Additional Resources
CHAPTER 6 - Diagramming
Some Specific Suggestions
A Short Exercise in Diagramming
PART TWO - The Process
CHAPTER 7 - Making the Decision to Go Ahead
Why Projects Begin
Questions to Consider
Establishing Academic Priorities: Collecting the Information Needed
Deciding to Begin Curriculum Projects
Deciding to Begin Course Projects
CHAPTER 8 - Getting Started
Who Should Be Involved
Pre-Project Meetings
Goals of First Formal Meeting
Developing an Instructional Philosophy
Case Study: Getting the Right People Involved in Designing an Orientation ...
CHAPTER 9 - Linking Goals, Courses, and Curricula
Goals of a Curriculum
Developing a Cohesive Curriculum
The Basic Core Competencies
Developing Your Own List of Core Competencies
Case Studies
Additional Resources
CHAPTER 10 - Gathering and Analyzing Essential Data
Student Characteristics
Educational Priorities of the Institution
Field of Knowledge
Time and Space
CHAPTER 11 - Thinking in the Ideal
Focusing on Structure and Sequence
Blended Curricula and Blended Course
Using the Research on Teaching and Learning
Dealing with a Lack of Prerequisite Skills
Case Study: Freshman English
Case Study: The Orientation Program for New Teaching Assistants
Some Suggestions
Additional Case Studies
CHAPTER 12 - Adjusting from the Ideal to the Possible
An Important Frame of Reference
Increasing Specificity
The Steps That Follow
Curriculum Projects: Factors to Consider
Course Projects: Factors to Consider
CHAPTER 13 - Clarifying Instructional Goals and Learning Outcomes
The Relationship Between Goals, Outcomes, and Assessment
The Importance of Stating Outcomes
Misconceptions About Outcomes: A Brief History
From Broad Statements to Specifics
Writing Outcomes
Categorizing Outcomes
Process Outcomes
An Almost Painless Way to Specify Outcomes
Specifying Grading Criteria and a Word About Grade Inflation
Representative Samples of Outcome Statements
Limitations of Outcome Statements
Additional References
Phase II
CHAPTER 14 - Designing and Implementing Your Assessment Plan Overview and ...
The Structure of This Chapter and the Next
A Basic Reference
Evaluation Assistance
Different Audiences: Different Reports
Using Assessment Instruments Developed Elsewhere
Developing a Plan for Assessing a Curriculum
CHAPTER 15 - Designing and Implementing Your Assessment Plan Assessing a Course
Collecting Useful Information
Assessing Group Work
Pilot Testing New Materials and Instructional Techniques
Where to Start
Keeping Students Informed: An Important Lesson
A Final Word on Assessment
PART THREE - Designing, Implementing, and Assessing the Learning Experience
CHAPTER 16 - Designing the Learning Experience The Research on Teaching and Learning
The Changing Role of Faculty in the Learning Process
CHAPTER 17 - Designing the Learning Experience Your Instructional Options
Building the Assessment Process into Your Design
A Note of Caution
The Impact of Technology
Beyond Outcomes: Student Engagement
Factors to Consider
Other Linkages and Structures
A Reminder About Core Competencies
Your Next Steps
Funds for Instructional Innovation
A Final Note on Selecting Your Design Options
Additional Resources
CHAPTER 18 - Using Technology to Support Learning
Benefits of Using Technology
Misuses of Technology
Appropriate Uses of Technology
Guidelines for Using Technology Effectively
How to Go Wrong (or, What Not to Do)
Additional Resources
CHAPTER 19 - Distance Learning
The Growth in Distance Education
Benefits of Distance Learning
Categories of Distance Learning
Some Recommendations
Course Management Systems
Your Role in Online Courses
CHAPTER 20 - Meeting the Needs of Adult Learners
A National Perspective for Adult Learning
Priorities of Adult Learners: Implications of Self-Determination Theory
How Adults Learn: Implications of the Research
Institutional Strategies for Meeting the Educational Needs of Adult Learners
Additional Resources
CHAPTER 21 - Addressing Diversity
Dimensions of Diversity and Its Values in Postsecondary Education
Major Recent Events and Their Implications for Diversity in Postsecondary Education
The Diverse Classroom
A Closing Note
Additional Resources
CHAPTER 22 - Developing a Learning -Centered Syllabus
Why Use a Learning-Centered Syllabus?
Royalties and Copyright
PART FOUR - Your Next Steps
CHAPTER 23 - Using Your Data: Curriculum and Course Revision
Learning from Others
Case Studies in Course and Curriculum Revision
A Final Word on Course and Curriculum Revision
CHAPTER 24 - Learning from Experience
A Respected, Honored Activity
A Quality Educational Experience: Impossible Without a Quality Curriculum
Learning from Experience: The Basic Principles of Change


The Present State of Higher Education: Some Perspectives
Despite some notable progress on the frontiers of reform since the 1960s and 1970s, higher education’s core practices remain largely unchanged, rending the enterprise less than it should be in today’s environment. Many of the items heading the agenda for change in 1970 continue today. Critics regularly question the learning exhibited by college grad uates. Moreover, achievement gaps in higher education persist between students of lower and higher socio-economic status and across ethnic and racial groups.... Also, while everyone agrees that improving edu cational performance entails more concerted interactions with primary and secondary schools, the linkages between them remain weak.
—National Center for Postsecondary Improvement
Change is urgently needed. Even as college attendance is rising, the performance of too many students is faltering. Public policies have focused on getting students into a college, but not on what they are expected to accomplish once there. The result is that the college experience is a revolving door for millions of students, while the college years are poorly spent by many others.
—The Association of American Colleges and Universities
Student success in college cannot be documented—as it usually is—only in terms of enrollment, persistence, and degree attainment. These widely used metrics, while important, miss entirely the ques tion of whether students who have placed their hopes for the future in higher education are actually achieving the kind of learning they need for a complex and volatile world ...
—The National Leadership Council for Liberal Education & America’s Promise
In a 2006 article I made the following observation: “Significant changes will never occur in any institution until the forces for change are greater in combination than the forces preserving the status quo.” If not there yet, higher education is extremely close to that tipping point.
The years following the publication of the Second Edition of Designing and Assessing Courses and Curricula have not been good ones for American colleges and universities. Business and industry leaders increasingly call for graduates who can speak and write effectively, have high-quality interpersonal and creative thinking skills, have some understanding of the rest of the world, and can work effectively with individuals from different cultures and backgrounds. In addition, state and federal funding for higher education has either diminished or failed to keep up with need, and one of the major forces for innovation in colleges and universities for decades, the American Association for Higher Education, has folded. At the same time that the calls for major improvements in the quality of academic programs and for institutional accountability have risen in both quantity and intensity, major foundations long known for their support of colleges and universities shifted their funding priorities to other areas. While there may be some disagreement as to accuracy of some of the statistics used to support the need for reform (Attewell and Lavin, 2007), there is little disagreement both inside and outside of the academy that colleges and universities must pay greater attention to the quality of the education they provide to students.
These concerns about quality and accountability are not new—they have been around for years. In the Preface to the 1998 edition was a quote from Roy Romer, then chair of a task force for the Education Commission of the United States: “For all its rich history, there are too many signs that higher education is not taking seriously its responsibility to maintain a strong commitment to undergraduate learning; to be accountable for products that are relevant, effective and of demonstrable quality; and to provide society with the full range of benefits from investments in research and public service” (Romer, 1995, p. 1). The demand for increased accountability articulated in the observations by Romer is directly related to one of the major recommendations of the 2006 Department of Education’s Commission report on the Future of Higher Education. Ernest Boyer’s observation that there is a “disturbing gap between colleges and the larger world” (1987, p. 6) is as true today as it was over twenty years ago.
Further complicating the challenges to colleges and universities are the significant changes that have taken place in our students over the last two decades. Our student population has not only grown substantially but has become more diverse in terms of age, gender, and cultural background. Today only 16 percent of the student population can be described as “traditional” (aged eighteen to twentytwo, attending college full-time, and living on campus), a growing percentage are the first generation in their family to attend college, and over fifty percent of all students are women (Smith, MacGregor, Matthews, and Gabelnick, 2004). In addition, many entering students are lacking in important prerequisites and effective study habits.
There are two other factors contributing to the pressure to change felt by those in leadership positions at American universities.
The impact of globalization. William Tierney has identified five trends and challenges that globalization has created for higher education.
1. Education no longer has any borders, students are able to take classes virtually anywhere in the world—in person or online.
2. A college or university is less of a physical place today and more of an interaction that may occur anywhere, on the Internet or in any one of a number of emergent virtual realties.
3. In a globalized world competition increases: students have more choices about the kind of institution they will attend and the kind of training they desire.
4. Globalization has weakened the social welfare state and increased the importance of privatization. As state funding support has decreased, state institutions have been required to raise more and more money from private sources. As a result the difference between state and private institutions is becoming increasingly blurred.
5. Colleges and universities are becoming more decentralized and decisions are being made closer to where the action takes place. State planning or centralized decision-making is taking a backseat to entrepreneurial activity at the local level [2007, pp. 1-2].
The significant role played by accreditation agencies in fostering change by requiring statements of learning outcomes and evidence that instructional goals are being met. As more and more political and professional leaders perceive accreditation as a major lever for change, there are increased pressures on the agencies and associations who determine criteria to focus on learning outcomes and institutional accountability. New demands for specificity, for academic quality, and for extensive documentation have taken accreditation from being an activity dealt with by small numbers of administrators to a process that will involve every faculty member and academic administrator.

Why Institutions Are So Hard to Change

Although the pressures for change intensify and are no longer possible to ignore, the reactions to these pressures by many colleges and universities has been modest, to say the least. On many campuses, the rhetoric may have changed, but there have been few significant attempts to address the issues directly. Procedures, structures, and priorities have tended to remain constant. The reasons for this are many.
People usually find that it is far less risky to do nothing than to try to change and, in higher education, tradition is a most powerful force. Trustees and administrators often do not see their role as change agents, and many in these positions are selected on criteria that have little to do with leadership or their understanding of the forces now impacting higher education. With competition between institutions, programs, and faculty the norm, it is extremely difficult to get the cooperation that is required to successfully address institutionwide issues, and with faculty often more committed to their discipline or department than to the institution, this type of cooperation becomes even more difficult to attain. In addition, the reward and recognition system for individual units, faculty, and administrators usually tends to support the status quo. On most campuses there is simply no reward for participating in the activities that are desperately needed. For more on the forces resisting change, and actions that can be taken to overcome them, see “Changing Higher Education: Realistic Goal or Wishful Thinking?” (Diamond, 2006).
Not discussed in the article are three other factors that add to the challenges faced by anyone attempting to implement major reform at a college or university.
The impact of technology on teaching and learning. Technology significantly increases the instructional options available to faculty, but also has a negative impact on two other areas that rarely receive the attention they deserve: institutional budgets and the ways in which students study and learn. As institutions attempt to implement a wide range of administrative applications of technology and to provide students with the computer support that they demand, an increasing percentage of the total budget is devoted to supporting the purchase of equipment and the required maintenance and technical support. In a number of instances these monies have been generated by an increase in internal charges for a wide range of services that were at one time provided at no cost to individual units. In this approach, individual units are charged directly for a portion of the total costs to the institution. In periods of flat budgets, departments are then forced to redirect the funds that they have available to support faculty and the improvement of instruction. On a number of campuses one of the areas directly affected by these cuts has been the academic support center—at the very time that more faculty are requesting their assistance. The second area where technology has an impact is on the way students approach the entire learning experience. Faculty are reporting decreasing attendance in classes, more students multitasking during lectures, and difficulty in getting students to devote to their assignments the amount of effort and time required for quality work.
The increase in the number of part-time or adjunct faculty. One unintended outcome of the movement away from tenured faculty at colleges and universities is the impact this change has on the entire academic enterprise. Individuals in these positions, although often dedicated and talented, are usually not expected to serve as advisors to students or to participate in the course and curriculum design efforts that are so urgently needed. As a result, with nearly 50 percent of all faculty in these untenured or part-time positions, the remaining faculty find themselves asked to do more with little compensation and no additional support.
The dominance of the U.S. News & World Report rankings. The U.S. News rankings have been described as “the nation’s de facto accountability system—evaluating colleges and universities on a common scale and creating strong incentives for institutions to do things that raise their ratings” (Carey, 2006, p. 1). Emphasizing three factors—fame, wealth, and exclusivity—this approach to the use of data has had a significant affect on the priorities of many institutional leaders, in that the quality of the education their institutions provide becomes less important than the percentage of applicants turned down or the money received in grants and donations.
Our challenges are complex, but we do have a solid base to build on. We know how to improve the quality of our teaching, how to help under-prepared students succeed, how to improve retention, and how to prepare our graduates to be more productive and successful citizens. There are projects in colleges and universities in the United States and throughout the world that have been successful in addressing all the issues and concerns being raised. Unfortunately, too few academic leaders or faculty know the research, and even fewer politicians have the political will to play their key role in changing the state and national priorities so that these issues can be successfully addressed. Until the faculty reward system is modified to strike a proper balance between teaching, research, and service, and until alumni and political leaders pay more attention to the quality of the education students receive than they do to the success of an institution’s athletic teams and to national rankings, which have little to do with the actual effectiveness of an institution’s academic program, little will change. Fortunately we may be reaching a point in the United States where the entire system of higher education will have no option but to change. The nation is getting close to demanding such change.

Designing and Assessing Courses and Curricula

When taken together, these challenges present a clear call for imaginative planning, with faculty and administrators working together toward change. There is a need for academic programs to take full advantage of the abilities of faculty, of technological developments, and of creative new forms of teaching and learning. Although the various reports and studies call for changes in content and pedagogy, they do not describe how these changes might be made.
Institutions, departments, or faculty often recognize significant problems in the content and design of their curricula or courses, but their efforts to change are hampered by uncertainty about how to make orderly changes, where to begin, what outcomes to target, and what roles faculty, curriculum committees, and administrators should play. This book provides a model for change that answers these questions.
Attempts to change curricula are not new. Major projects in developing core curricula were undertaken in the 1920s and again in the 1940s. But each of these efforts foundered as it attempted to build in more flexibility and greater student choice. This trend was even more in evidence in the early 1970s, when requirements, structure, and sequence of programs and courses almost disappeared from many campuses. The key, as Joan Stark and Lisa Lattuca pointed out in their review of curriculum innovation, is “to find the balance that will provide choice while preserving culture, one that will provide exposure to alternative perspectives while avoiding fragmentation” (1997, pp. 354-355). No easy challenge.
Although the problems we face are significant, this is also an exciting time to be a faculty member at the many colleges and universities where increased attention is being paid to teaching and learning. These institutions are rethinking their goals and priorities, their curricula, and the way learning takes place. Numerous examples will be found throughout these pages. The promotion and tenure system is also beginning to undergo major transformation, and many of the disciplinary associations are actively facilitating the change by providing their members with creative new instructional materials and by expanding the scope of activities they consider scholarly.
We also have available to us technological innovations that open up opportunities to significantly increase faculty access to course and curricular information as well as to improve the quality and scope of our students’ learning experience.

Purpose of the Book

Designing and Assessing Courses and Curricula responds to the questions of faculty and administrators who recognize a need for change but are unsure of how to reach their goals. The chapters focus on an approach that has been used at institutions with very different profiles—private and public, large and small—and with varying budgets. It offers a practical approach to systemic change and perhaps even more important, it is one of the few change models that focuses on the crucial relationship between courses and the curriculum of which they are a part. The book shows how to move from concept to actualization, from theory to practice. Case studies illustrate the model’s adaptability to broad curricular change and to course and program design; it works with equal success in both areas.
In their study of the contextual influences on faculty as they design their courses, Stark and Lattuca observed that less than onethird of those teaching general education courses reported that books and articles on teaching and learning were an influence in their course planning (1997, pp. 224-225). To successfully revise a course or curriculum, you need up-to-date knowledge about learning and the various ways to facilitate it. Without this knowledge, efforts to improve student learning are unlikely to succeed.
As one of our goals is to direct you to more detailed information on topics of specific interest to you as you move through the design process, most chapters include an annotated additional resources section as well as resources discussed in the body of the material. When applicable, we have also identified those materials that are available over the Internet.
The process we will follow has remained constant over the years, but this book represents a major revision from the second edition. Based on feedback from previous users, the book has been totally restructured to make it easier to use. Many chapters have been shortened, with most case studies and resources being relocated in separate sections in the back of the book. This has permitted the case studies to be expanded and allows you to locate more easily the specific materials that will be of greatest use to you.
You will find new chapters on accreditation, distance learning, and teaching adult students, and many existing chapters have been significantly updated or rewritten. The chapters on diversity, technology, and selecting instructional options have been expanded, and several chapters from the second edition have been divided into separate chapters to provide you with more detailed information on specific topics.
Several factors make this model particularly relevant. Programs that have been developed using the model successfully meet the goals identified in the major reports on educational change, as well as the requirements of all the new accreditation standards (including clearly stated goals, learning outcomes, assessment, and continuous improvement). Compared with other approaches, this model is cost-effective, as it provides visible results in the shortest possible time.
Finally, and equally important, although this approach requires hard work, you will find it exciting, challenging, and rewarding, and administrators will remark on its efficiency and effectiveness.

Purposes and Audiences

Many excellent books have been written about teaching and learning. But that is not the focus of this book. This is a practical, descriptive handbook for faculty and administrators involved in the improvement of teaching and learning. It provides you with an effective model for designing, implementing, and evaluating courses and curricula. It suggests design options that are available to help you meet the diverse needs of your students, and offers guidelines for those you invite to help you in the design process. Finally, it helps to move the focus of course design from content coverage to student learning, keeping in mind the role that the course has in meeting the overarching goals of the curricula.
Although based on sound theory, this book is not a theoretical discourse; rather, it is a practical guide for faculty and administrators, showing how to approach and implement the redesign of courses and curricula—the structures in which learning takes place.
The suggestions are derived from my own experience and that of many associates in various institutions and other creative faculty throughout the United States. Although many case studies are drawn from the records of Syracuse University’s Center for Instructional Development, others are from large and small public and private colleges and universities that represent the broad spectrum of American higher education. The book shares the strategies that have worked well in making constructive, planned change of the sort higher education is presently challenged to initiate.

Overview of the Book

To assist you through the design, implementation, and assessment process the chapters of the book are divided into four distinct parts.

Part 1: A Frame of Reference

The six chapters in this section are designed to lay the groundwork for the work that will follow. After an overview of the rationale behind the process and its many benefits, you will find in Chapter 2 an in-depth look at the changes that are under way in accreditation and the impact that these changes will have on institutions, programs, faculty, and administrators. In Chapter 3 you will find specific recommendations on some relatively easy actions you can take to keep yourself up-to-date on the newest research on teaching and learning and on issues impacting higher education. Because the work that you will do on courses and curricula has all the characteristics of true scholarship, Chapter 4 offers a discussion of faculty rewards and how this work can be more appropriately recognized in the tenure and promotion process. Chapter 5 introduces the specific steps in the model and discusses in more detail the characteristics that have made this approach so effective. Included is a discussion of the types of individuals you may want to get involved in your project and their respective roles. In Chapter 6 we describe an extremely effective technique that you may wish to use as you develop the design of your course or curriculum.

Part 2: The Process

This, the most structured section of the book, follows sequentially the model of course and curriculum design that we will be using. Each chapter will walk you through the process step-by-step. To save you a great deal of time and effort we have included a number of resources that you should find helpful. These range from checklists and lists of questions to numerous case studies from different fields of study. Because experience has shown us that one of the most common causes of failure is beginning a project that should never have been undertaken in the first place, Chapter 7 focuses on the questions you should ask even before you begin. Different guidelines are provided for projects focusing on a single course and for those designing an entire curriculum. The three chapters that follow discuss how to get a project under way, the significant and often overlooked interrelationship between goals, courses, and curricula, and collecting and using the data you will require to make quality design decisions. One of the strong points of the approach that we use is that the initial design step is to think in the “ideal.” If you had the best possible program or course, what would it look like? Only after this stage is complete will you be able to determine how close you can come to the ideal when you consider resources, time, and so on. This two-stage process is described in Chapters 11 and 12. Chapter 13 addresses the basic issue of stating your learning goals in outcome terms and provides suggestions on how to craft clear statements in less stressful ways. The final chapters in this section focus on designing and implementing an assessment plan that meets your needs and those of your institution. After an overview of a number of assessment issues, the chapters focus first on curriculum projects and then on assessment in the context of an individual course. Included is some very important advice on what to consider when you are exploring the use of commercially prepared instruments and protocols.

Part 3: Designing, Implementing, and Assessing the Learning Experience

With an emphasis on the crucial interrelationship between courses and curricula, this section focuses more directly on designing and assessing the courses themselves. The seven chapters in this section are structured specifically to assist you in making the best possible instructional design decisions for your students. In the chapters on the research on teaching and learning, you will find the most recent and practical information on the various available approaches to teaching. Recognizing the changes that have taken place in students themselves, we have included chapters on meeting the needs of adult learners as well as those of a diverse student body. These topics are explored from two perspectives: from the perspective of a faculty member dealing with a class composed of men and women from diverse backgrounds and cultures; and from the perspective of higher education’s goal to develop in our students the ability to work with and respect people with different perspectives and priorities. This section concludes with a chapter on developing a syllabus that provides your students with all the information that they need to be successful in your course.

Part 4: Your Next Steps

Chapter 23 addresses the final step in the design process, using the data you collect to revise your course or curriculum. We discuss the various uses for the information you collect—from establishing benchmarks to identifying areas where work still needs to be done. In the final chapter we review some of the major forces that will impact higher education in the years ahead, review the characteristics of a quality curriculum, and conclude with some of the lessons we’ve learned along the way about successful innovation and change.

Some Important Suggestions

Two very useful parts of the book are the Resources and Case Study sections. The items included in these sections have been carefully selected to help you through the design, implementation, and assessment process. They are practical and have the potential to significantly improve the quality of your final product. In addition, these examples should prove helpful to you long after the specific project you are working on has been completed. In some cases we’ve made the titles a little longer to provide you with a better ideas of what’s included. In the Case Studies section, don’t focus only on those courses that relate to your own discipline. In many instances the problems the faculty faced and the actions they took to resolve them relate to courses in almost any field of study. Taking a few minutes to scan these two sections before you get very far into the design process may prove to be an extremely good use of your time.

This book is dedicated to the many faculty, administrators, and staff members at colleges and universities throughout the United States who care about the quality of teaching and learning, and to my wife, Dolores, who has supported me throughout my career. I couldn’t have done it without her.

First and foremost, I would like to thank the many talented and dedicated faculty and administrators whose work is represented in these pages, and extend my gratitude to my former colleagues at Syracuse University who played an active role in the development of many of the case studies and resources that we have included. I would also like to express my special thanks to Lion Gardiner, Wally Hannum, Roger Sell, and Trudy Banta for the outstanding new materials that they have contributed to these pages; to Martha Gaurdern and Julie Mills for their graphic assistance; to Ruth Corbett for her clerical support; and to Elizabeth Murphy, Lion Gardiner, and Roger Sell for their excellent advice that kept me on track as the manuscript progressed.
Robert M. Diamond
St. Petersburg, Florida

Robert M. Diamond, 1930-2007
Bob Diamond was a bright star in the constellation of higher education improvement, and shed his powerful light on many key issues in the field. It is hard to believe that this tireless contributor and friend will no longer be with us in person, but his example will continue to inspire us, as his writing will continue to help our efforts to improve the vital work of higher education.
Although Bob’s contributions to Jossey-Bass publications began before my own work with the Higher and Adult Education series, I had the good fortune to work with him on more than one book, and to benefit from his judgment as a reviewer and all-around source of good advice as well. Thus I was pleased but not surprised to receive numerous offers from Bob’s colleagues letting me know that they would be glad to help complete this book. They all knew Bob’s work was needed, and that the best way to honor their friend’s memory was to help get his work out to those who need it. Thanks to all of you for that very fitting tribute to Bob’s commitment and devotion to his work. I also want to extend special thanks to Bronwyn Adam for her kind assistance during the production process.
David Brightman
Senior Editor
Higher and Adult Education
Artwork by Bob Diamond

Robert M. Diamond was president of the National Academy for Academic Leadership and emeritus professor at Syracuse University. At Syracuse he was research professor and director of the Institute for Change in Higher Education and, prior to this, assistant vice chancellor and director of the Center for Instructional Development. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. from New York University and his B.A. from Union College. Dr. Diamond held administrative and faculty positions at SUNY Fredonia, the University of Miami, and San Jose State University. A Senior Fulbright Lecturer in India, he was president of the Division for Instructional Development, Association for Educational Communication & Technology. He also was an affiliated scholar with the Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education at the National Academy of Engineering.
Dr. Diamond authored numerous articles and books, including Designing and Improving Courses and Curricula in Higher Education: A Systematic Approach; Instructional Development for Individualized Learning in Higher Education; and the chapter on “Instructional Design: The Systems Approach” for the International Encyclopedia of Education. Dr. Diamond also authored Aligning Faculty Rewards with Institutional Mission, Preparing for Promotion and Tenure and Annual Review, “What It Takes to Lead a Department” in The Chronicle of Higher Education, “Changing Higher Education: Realistic Goal or Wishful Thinking?” in Trusteeship, and The Disciplines Speak: Rewarding the Scholarly, Professional and Creative Work of Faculty and contributed to the Field Guide to Academic Leadership.
In 1989, Dr. Diamond received the Division of Instructional Development Association for Educational Communication and Technology Award for outstanding practice in Instructional Development and in 1997 was cited by the American Association for Higher Education for his leadership in innovation and change. The Center for Instructional Development was the recipient of the 1996 Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Faculty Development to Enhance Undergraduate Learning.
Dr. Diamond coauthored the 1987 and the 1997 National Studies of Teaching Assistants, the 1992 National Study of Research Universities on the Balance Between Research and Undergraduate Teaching, and the 1997 study, Changing Priorities at Research Universities: 1991-1996. He was also responsible for the design and implementation of Syracuse University’s award-winning high school-college transition program, Project Advance. He served as director of the National Project on Institutional Priorities and Faculty Rewards. He was a consultant to the Ohio Board of Regents and to colleges and universities and disciplinary associations in the United States and overseas.
Wallace Hannum is associate director of technology for the National Research Center on Rural Education Support and a member of the faculty of the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Hannum teaches graduate-level courses on the use of technology in education, learning theories, and instructional design. Dr. Hannum’s research focuses on instructional uses of technology, especially distance education. He created a statewide online program for professional development of teachers and routinely uses a variety of technologies in his teaching. Dr. Hannum has consulted on the use of technology for professional development with many organizations, both public and private. He has participated in the design and implementation of numerous technology-based programs and projects. He has created standards and guidelines for technology use as well as taught numerous workshops to enable organizations to make effective use of technology for instructional purposes. He has worked extensively on education projects in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Dr. Hannum is author of five books and numerous articles on topics related to technology and instructional design.
G. Roger Sell is currently professor and director of the Academic Development Center at Missouri State University, a position he has held since 2002. Prior to that time, he was director of instructional development and evaluation at The Ohio State University (1980-1988), senior program director of the Center for Teaching Excellence also at Ohio State (1988-1993), and director of the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching at the University of Northern Iowa (1993-2002). Following the completion of his Ph.D. at the University of California-Santa Barbara in educational administration, he worked in the research and development of adult learning programs at the University of Mid-America and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems. He has taught in undergraduate, graduate, and continuing professional education. Dr. Sell’s most recent work focuses on student success, the scholarship of teaching and learning, the evaluation of teaching, and the assessment of student learning. He served as president of the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education in 2002 and over his career has been a consultant to dozens of colleges and universities in the United States and other countries.

A Frame of Reference

A Learning-Centered Approach to Course and Curriculum Design
Too many Americans just aren’t getting the education that they need—and deserve.
United States Department of Education, 2006, vii.
As a faculty member, you can undertake very few activities that will have a greater impact on students than your active involvement in the design of a course or curriculum. As a direct result of these efforts, learning can be facilitated, your students’ attitudes toward their own abilities can be significantly enhanced and, if you’re successful, students will leave better prepared for the challenges they will face after graduation. In addition, because major course and curriculum designs tend to remain in place for years after the project has been completed, your efforts will impact far more students than you may anticipate at first.

The Curriculum Is Not Always Equal to or More Than the Sum of Its Parts

A growing number of authors report that too many of our students simply do not receive the quality of education that society expects and that the country needs for the years ahead. The educational experience of our college students has been described as disjointed, unstructured, and often outdated. Courses often have little relationship to the curriculum that is in place and may overlook the critical skills that students need to acquire.
The observations identified in the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ report, Integrity in the College Curriculum: A Report to the Academic Community (1985), are even more appropriate today than they were over twenty years ago: “As for what passes as a college curriculum, almost anything goes. We have reached a point at which we are more confident about the length of a college education than its content and purpose. Indeed, the major in most colleges is little more than a gathering of courses taken in one department, lacking structure and depth, as is often the case in the humanities and social sciences, or emphasizing content to the neglect of the essential style of inquiry on which the content is based, as is too frequently true in the natural and physical sciences.” The report continued, “The curriculum has given way to a marketplace philosophy; it is a supermarket where students are shoppers and professors are merchants of learning. Fads and fashions, the demands of popularity and success, enter where wisdom and experience should prevail. Does it make sense for a college to offer a thousand courses to a student who will only take thirty-six?” (p. 2).
The research, too, suggests that in many cases college and university curricula do not produce the results we intend. Curricula that are not focused by clear statements of intended outcomes often permit naive students broad choices among courses resulting in markedly different outcomes from those originally imagined: by graduation most students have come to understand that their degrees have more to do with the successful accumulation of credits than with the purposeful pursuit of knowledge (Gardiner, 1996, p. 34). In his 2006 essay on the status of innovation in American colleges and universities, Ted Marchese, former vice president of the Association for Higher Education and editor of Change magazine, made the following observation:
What’s at stake? Does this matter? Does it matter that university completion rates are 44 percent and slipping? That just 10 percent from the lowest economic quartile attain a degree? That figures released this past winter show huge chunks of our graduates who cannot comprehend a New York Times editorial or their own checkbook? That frustrated public officials edge closer and closer to imposing a standardized test of college outcomes? Does it matter that we look to our publics like an enterprise more eager for status and funding than self-inquiry and improvement? [2006].
Although his comments are certainly discomforting, they are accurate. Despite the efforts of many dedicated faculty and administrators and the support of numerous foundations, we are still not doing a particularly good job of educating our students. Too many of our graduates leave underprepared to be effective and productive citizens, and far too many students who enter college never graduate. As a result, America is losing out in many areas. Fewer and fewer citizens vote, we are perceived as an isolated country with little understanding of other cultures and of the world in general, and numerous other nations’ educators are doing a far better job of developing in their citizens the competence that will be required in the years ahead.
In the additional resources section at the end of this chapter you will find several publications that discuss in more detail the challenges that colleges and universities face.
In short, we have reached a point where we educators, in addition to becoming more efficient and effective, have to rethink at a basic level what we teach and how we teach. We must rethink our roles as faculty, how we can most effectively use the time and talents of our students, and how we can fully utilize the expanding capabilities of technology. The approach that we will use in this book is designed to help you do all of these things.

The Challenges of Curriculum and Course Design

Designing a quality course or curriculum is always difficult, time-consuming, and challenging. It requires thinking about the specific goals you have for your students, the demands of accreditation agencies, and about how you, as a teacher, can facilitate the learning process. This demanding task will force you to face issues that you may have avoided in the past, to test long-held assumptions with which you are very comfortable, and to investigate areas of research that may be unfamiliar to you. At times you may become tired and frustrated and wish to end the entire project. Just keep in mind how important this work is and press on. Despite the work involved most faculty who have used this model report that they found the process of design and implementation challenging, frequently exciting, and when completed, most rewarding.
Unfortunately, as important as these activities are, we faculty are seldom prepared to carry them out. Although you may have been fortunate enough to have participated in a strong, well-conceived program for teaching assistants, few faculty have had the opportunity to explore the process of course and curriculum design or to read the research that provides a solid base for these initiatives. This book is designed to help you go through the design, implementation, and evaluation processes. It will provide you with a practical, step-by-step approach supported by case studies, a review of the significant literature, and introduce you to materials that you should find extremely useful.
Figure 1.1.
From Goals to Outcomes to Assessment

An Important Relationship

As you follow through the steps of designing or revising a course or curriculum, it is extremely important to keep in mind the important relationship between goals, outcomes, and assessment. It is a relationship that remains a constant whether you are focusing on a curriculum, a course, or a unit or element within a course.
1. The outcome statements that are produced for the curriculum will be the basis on which the primary goals of each course within that curriculum are determined.
2. The outcome statements that are produced at the course level will be the basis on which the primary goals of each unit or element within that course are determined.
3. As you move from the curriculum to the courses within it, and to the individual units or elements within each course, the goal and outcome statements become more specific.
4. The success of your effort will be determined by how well your students meet the criteria for success as defined in the outcome statements at the course and unit or course element level. (See Figure 1.1.)

Getting Assistance