Course ReDesign Academy

Join Our Course ReDesign Academy

Our Course ReDesign Academy (CRA) combines a traditional faculty development workshop with self-directed online learning to provide guidance, feedback, resources, and ongoing peer collaboration as you design a new course or redesign one that’s been around for a while. Our goal is to provide both initial and ongoing support for your course visions and revisions, adapted to your specific needs and embedded in an engaged peer community.

Course ReDesign Academy helps faculty build or revise engaging, relevant, manageable courses based on matching the best research-based teaching practices with your goals and needs. Whether you’re designing a course for 20 or 200 students, to take place in a classroom or online, for a STEM program or a capstone experience or an introduction to the major, CRA offers faculty support, feedback, and community to enhance your work.

In Course ReDesign Academy faculty complete initial online modules (Stage 1) prior to engaging with peers in live discussions, either in-person or online (Stage 2).

Stage 1:

In our self-paced Online Preparation Modules, you identify key goals for your course ReDesign, consider the types and modes of learning you want for your students, connect with your peers, and review strategies for planning and assessing course assignments.

Stage 2:

In the Collaborative Workshop meetings, you join 10-12 of your Mason colleagues for a set of hands-on, project-based events to ReDesign a cornerstone assignment, explore opportunities and challenges for your course, and create your overall course revision plan in a collaborative, supportive environment.

For June 2024, we are aiming for a blend of in-person and on-video meetings. On-campus and remote participants should expect to work steadily through the day on specific redesign projects, 8:30 am – 4:30pm Eastern Time, on June 4-5, 2024. If you are selected for the Academy and require some accommodations to manage family commitments during those days, or you are joining from a different time zone, we would be happy to work with you ahead of time to ensure that you can complete tasks in time to participate in key group events.

See a sample CRA schedule here.

Upcoming Course ReDesign Academies

Summer 2024

Click here to submit your proposal

Online Preparation Modules (8-12 hours total)
Dates: May 15-June 3

Collaborative Workshops
June 4-5, Tuesday & Wednesday
, online and/or on-campus, 8:30am – 4:30 pm, with final mini-portfolio due June 14, 2024

Proposals due: April 17, 2024

Winter 2025

Online Preparation Modules (8-12 hours total)
Tentative Dates: December 15-January 3

Collaborative Workshops
Tentative Dates: January 8-9, Wednesday and Thursday, online and/or on-campus, 8:30am – 4:30 pm, with final mini-portfolio due January 24, 2025

Proposals due: December 11, 2024

Course Redesign Academy FAQs

Who can participate in CRA?

Any full-time, part-time, or graduate faculty member at Mason who is scheduled to design or revise a course they will teach at least once during the upcoming twelve-month period may apply to participate in CRA. Faculty can work individually or with a partner or team as part of the Academy. Preference is given to faculty whose ReDesign supports a department, program, or university initiative (such as an online program development or a focus on one or more the goals featured in Mason’s strategic plan).

How does CRA prepare instructors for teaching in Active Learning classrooms?

Research shows us that faculty teaching in Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs) have a much higher success rate when they have completed a structured program of preparation for both syllabus design and classroom management. Since these classrooms not only provide multiple levels of technological enhancement but are carefully designed to support a particular kind of teaching and learning, faculty usually need significant time for course redesign as well as preparation for technology integration and classroom management in order to be successful. CRA leaders include ALC-experienced facilitators; our activities and discussions provide guidance (and hands-on practice) for faculty designing technology-assisted collaborative learning.

What sorts of activities are involved in CRA?

All CRA activities are designed to blend time for individual participants to plan, create, or revise their class materials with time to identify options and receive feedback from their peers and the CRA leaders. To review the sample schedule for the Summer 2021 online CRA, please click here.

How does the Stearns Center support CRA participants?

We will provide up to $800 in direct stipends or professional development funding (to support professional travel or teaching-related supplies) for completion of the Preparation Modules, Collaborative Workshop, and Faculty Learning Community projects. In addition, participants will receive a teaching-related book of their choice from our recommended reading list, as well as lunch and coffee provided for our Collaborative Workshop days.

Participants will receive funding as follows:

  • $500 for completing the two-day Collaborative Workshop (which also includes lunch when it occurs face-to-face)
  • $300 for completing the online Preparation Modules prior to the Workshop (about 8-12 hours of self-paced reading and responding)
How could my department, program, or unit support or create Course ReDesign events?

We have previously collaborated with units on campus who have specific priorities for faculty development or who have a specific course-design need and wish to develop an in-house CRA sequence. CRA timing and focus can be adjusted to meet local needs and accessibility; however, we ask that the three-stage CRA structure (including online learning and a follow-up Faculty Learning Community during course implementation) remain a baseline for supporting faculty. For this kind of local programming, we ask that units agree on a reasonable stipend or other compensation for participants and designate a local leader/coordinator who can help design and organize the events with a member of the Stearns Center team.

How do I apply to join the next CRA?

Complete our online proposal form by the date specified above. The proposal asks you to describe the course you will be (re)designing, some of your current plans for that course, and some of your general your approaches to course (re)design. Participants will be notified of their acceptance within two weeks of the deadline.