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Course-Planning Timeline

Six Months Prior

  • Define course goals.
  • Determine course content.
  • Think about appropriate teaching methods.
  • Begin reviewing possible texts.
  • If team-teaching, begin discussing course goals, teaching philosophies, course content, teaching methods, and course policies, as well as specific responsibilities for each instructor.

Three Months Prior

  • Begin to develop course schedule and syllabus.
  • Develop teaching methods and tools.
  • Determine how you will evaluate student learning: plan assignments and exams.
  • Order text(s) and other materials, including films, videos, or software.
  • If planning to use instructional technology or multimedia equipment, reserve a classroom that has all the necessary components.
  • Contact guest speakers.
  • Arrange field trips and other activities.

One Month Prior

  • Define course policies.
  • Refine the course syllabus.
  • Begin to compose lesson plans or lecture notes.
  • Seek training on how to use instructional technology and multimedia systems; have any necessary additional software installed.
  • Call bookstore to make sure books have arrived.

During and After

  • Take a few, brief notes after every class session; these notes will remind you of what went well and what you would like to change after the course has concluded.
  • Review student evaluations.
  • Refine the course design, responding to student evaluations and reflecting on your own evaluation of the course.

*For further details on the course-planning process, see Planning a Course.

© 2009, The Teaching Center, Washington University in St. Louis