A lot of things come into play when taking over a course. What learning objectives are there and how are you going to assess these? Are you allowed to make your own adjustments? To make all these aspects insightful, we constructed a manual that offers some structure.
Taking over a course
What steps should I take before designing my course?
Open the course dossier and read the course manual.
- Is it clear which learning objectives have to be achieved?
- How are these learning objectives assessed?
- Does the course have a fixed structure: how many lectures are there, are these regular lectures or seminars, what assignments will students need to make and what literature is mandatory?
Talk to the course coordinator and/or a colleague who is/was involved with the course.
- Do you know what is expected of you as a lecturer?
- What went well the last time during this course, and what are points of attention?
- If available: read the course evaluations and reflection of the previous lecturer?
Read the Education and Examination Regulations (EER) of your faculty.
What do I need to know before the start of the course?
Do you know what kind of students take this course?
- Is the course mandatory, or is it an elective/optional course?
- Do you have sight on what courses students have taken previously, and therefore with what prior knowledge they attend your course?
- What level are the students that attend your course on?
How does this course/seminar relate to other courses?
- What courses run parallel with this course?
- How does this course follow up on the previous and connect to the next course?
- Do you have a view on the time students have to spend on your course?
Do you know what type of assessment is used?
- Is it clear how the learning objectives are assessed?
- In what way are you going to assess?
- Did you check whether there already is an existing exam?
- Do you know if there are practice exams or examples of final products available?
- Is it clear which criteria you will use for the assessment?
- Who is involved with the assessment and who has what role/responsibility?
Is it clear which educational material is needed (e.g. literature, assignments, test material, etc.)?
- Do you have access to these materials?
- Do you know when students are going to need these materials?
- Do you have access to materials that were used in an earlier version of the course?
- Is the course already set up in Brightspace?
- Have you thought about what (digital) tools you would like to use?
Do you have a view of the amount of freedom you have?
- Do you have ideas of the subject matter you want to implement and does this fit within the course and/or the mode of instruction.
- Have you thought about what modes of instruction you want to use and are you allowed to pick whichever you want?
- Are you allowed to deploy all (digital) tools or only tools mentioned in the course manual?
How do you communicate with students?
- Do you know what your role is, and that of the course coordinator?
- Have you thought of if and in what way students can approach you for (personal) guidance?
- Have you decided how you are going to announce study results (e.g. grades)?
- Do you know what the rules are for handing in assignments?
- Have you thought of whether you want to track attendance and if so, how?
Tips from colleagues
- Talk to someone who has been part of the course or seminar before.
- Ask other lecturers what methods they use to activate and motivate students.
- Don’t hesitate to ask for help where and when you need it.
- Don’t forget to put in a request for weblectures if you are planning to record your lectures.