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Master the Classroom With Effective Course Planning

AMTA offers online courses created for teachers, by teachers. Subjects include instructional design, lesson planning, classroom management and more.  Preview the high-quality content you can expect from our online courses and gain some course planning tips in the excerpt below.

Key Elements of Effective Course Planning

Learning occurs when the brain connects with the subject matter.1 Great teaching facilitates this process. The framework for doing so starts with the planning and thought you put into the courses you teach. The lessons in this online course provide you with tools that you can use as a map to get the results (learning) you desire, the guidance for measuring if you have reached the learning goals (assessment), and the framework for making changes if you have not (evaluation). The steps you take ahead of time can help maximize the experience for your students.

When you teach, you bring who you are and your unique experiences into your class. As a teacher, you need to be able take the subject matter you know intimately and figure out how to create a course that allows your students to connect with the content. Ultimately, your goal should be to design a course that enables your students to understand the content at a deep enough level so that they can apply it successfully in different contexts.3

Questions to Ask

The best teachers focus primarily on what their students will learn, supported secondarily by what and how they will teach. They ask themselves questions as they prepare:

  •  What should my students be able to do intellectually, physically or emotionally as a result of this learning?
  • How can I best help and encourage my students to develop those abilities and habits and use them?
  • How can my students best understand the nature, quality and progress of their learning?
  • How can I evaluate my efforts to foster that learning?4

Learn more about effective course planning »

1Reardon M, Derner S. Strategies for Great Teaching. Zephr Press: Chicago, 2004.
2Palmer PJ, Schribner M. The courage to teach guide for reflection and renewal, 10th edition. Jossey-Bass, San Franciso, 2007.
3Ambrose, S.  Bridges MW, DiPetro M. et al. How Learning Works: 7 Research Based Principles for Smart Teaching. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, 2010.
4Bain, K. What the Best College Teachers Do. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 2004.

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