Join Our Course ReDesign Academy
Our Course ReDesign Academy (CRA) combines a traditional faculty development workshop with self-directed online learning and a Faculty Learning Community 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.
The Course ReDesign Academy has three stages. Faculty can choose to participate in the Stage 2 Workshop only, or add one or both of the other stages to their Academy experience:
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.
In the Collaborative Workshop meetings, you join 10-15 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 2021, our main workshop will be online, blending synchronous full-group conversations with small-group workspaces and individual tasks. Although we will not be “live on Zoom” 100% of the time, participants should expect to work steadily through the day on specific redesign projects, 8:30 am – 4:30pm Eastern Time, on June 8 and June 9. 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.
In our CRA Faculty Learning Community, you meet twice a semester during the first year of your course implementation to discuss the successes and challenges of teaching your new or renewed course with your CRA cohort, to receive peer feedback on key elements of your course, and to practice additional strategies for supporting and adapting your course goals.
All CRA participants receive stipends for each stage of their participation.
Upcoming Course ReDesign Academies
Online Preparation Modules
Dates: May 26-June 7
Dates: June 8-9, 2021
Faculty Learning Community
Proposals due: Monday April 19, 2021
Online Preparation Modules (7-10 hours total)
TENTATIVE Dates: January 4-10, 2022
TENTATIVE Dates: January 11-12, online, 8:30am – 4:30 pm, with final mini-portfolio due January 17, 2022
Faculty Learning Community
Proposals due: Monday December 6, 2021
Course Redesign Academy FAQs
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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 Large Active Learning classrooms?
Research shows us that faculty teaching in Large Active Learning Classrooms (LALCs) — 60 students or more — have a much higher success rate when they have completed a structured program of preparation for both syllabus design and classroom management. Mason’s Active Learning with Technology (ALT) classroom in Exploratory Hall L102 is a signature learning space designed to promote team-focused, project-based learning in a 72-person class. Buchanan Hall D023 joined the ALT classroom as a signature LALC in Fall 2019, and 9 other LALCs opened in Horizon Hall in Spring 2021. 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 LALC-experienced facilitators; our activities and discussions provide guidance (and hands-on practice) for faculty designing technology-assisted collaborative learning.
- Note 1: Stearns Center will lend support for reserving these LALC rooms to faculty who have completed specific training (like CRA or our other workshop series) and who depend on the room to complete a formal scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) project or grant-supported endeavor. To inquire about whether your SoTL/grant project qualifies you for special consideration for LALC scheduling, contact the Stearns Center.
- Note 2–Covid-19 Teaching: While the opportunities for face-to-face teaching continue to be limited by the pandemic, we remain optimistic that faculty in the 2021-2022 academic year will have opportunities to teach full classes in our newly designed LALC spaces. We expect that pandemic learning has given all of us — including students! — an increased focus on how to make in-person gatherings as interactive, collaborative, and engaging as possible, so we will focus CRA and other workshops on supporting faculty redesign to reach those goals.
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 $1000 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)
- $200 for completing the four Faculty Learning Community Meeting projects that provide follow-up support (90 minutes each, scheduled in September and November for fall and February and April for Summer, and/or the equivalent follow-up projects (e.g. class observation report or assessment plan)
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.