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Building a Pathway for Student Learning

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About the Author

Steven K. Jones is currently an Associate Professor of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA). He has taught for over 20 years in university and service academy classrooms. For the past 10 years, he has served as the Director of Academic Assessment in USAFA's Center for Educational Excellence. He works closely with faculty across the institution on matters of effective course design, particularly as it pertains to assessment of course learning goals and departmental / institutional learning outcomes. His scholarly contributions are focused on the clear articulation, development, and assessment of institutional learning outcomes. Robert K. Noyd is Professor of Biology at the U.S. Air Force Academy where he teaches botany, general biology, and senior seminar courses. He has taught for over 35 years in high school, community college, small college, university, and service academy classrooms. He has served as the Academy's Director of Faculty Development and continues to write innovative educational materials and present workshops throughout the country on course design and learning-focused strategies. His new first edition biology textbook uses research-based principles of learning to motivate and inspire students nationwide. Kenneth S. Sagendorf is the founding Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) and a Professor at Regis University - a Jesuit University in Denver, CO, USA. He holds degrees in biology (B.S.), applied exercise physiology (M.S.), and College Science Teaching (Ph.D.). In his 20 years in higher education, he has worked as a faculty member and administrator at four academic institutions - from small state schools to research institutions to the United States Air Force Academy. His own scholarship focuses on creating environments and cultures conducive to student learning - at the lesson, course, program, and curricular levels. His publications include books on incorporating disability into the college classroom and curriculum and promoting academic integrity through classroom instruction.


"This book leads you through the entire process of designing a well-aligned, learning-centered course - and makes it easy. Not only does it explain solid course design principles we can all agree on, such as backward design, but it also provides the hands-on practicality of a workbook: The reader creates a course as she proceeds through the book. Faculty can use on their own, or educational developers can develop an extended course design workshop around it."--Linda B. Nilson, Ph.D. Director, Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation "This book is valuable for both the novice and experienced faculty member. I am particularly impressed that it is written at a level that is easy to understand, yet guides the reader to a complex product individually designed to improve student learning."--Todd Zakrajsek "Roll up your sleeves and get ready to learn practical guidelines for designing a learning-centered course. This book puts aside theory and argument for the transformational work of re-tooling courses with an emphasis on deep, lasting learning. Various strategies maximize the hands-on, retreat-like approach to achieving what the authors call transparency, alignment, and integration in course design. The book is more than a good read: it is a genuine workout for teachers committed to improving student learning."--John Zubizarreta, Ph.D., Professor of English, Director of Honors & Faculty Development, Carnegie Foundation/CASE U.S. Professor of the Year "The workbook has much to commend. First, each chapter contains a helpful and thorough survey of the more significant research on the topic under consideration. Second, the system suggested to redesign courses is logically ordered, and effective. Third, at several key points the authors suggest proactive ways of finding evaluation of stages in the course design from colleagues. Most importantly, the authors recognize that effective course design has to be a flexible system; they do not claim to have all the answers for how every course can best be structured, rather they provide a series of guiding questions so that individual instructors can think through how to order their classes so that they effectively take students from wherever they begin, to the acquisition of central proficiencies and the accomplishment of learning goals, whatever the discipline. For these reasons, this book should be essential for anyone developing or revising courses towards a learning-centered model."--Reflective Teaching Journal "Building a Pathway for Student Learning provides a practical and flexible guide to the wicked problem of teaching in higher education. As Jones, Noyd, and Sagendorf explain, faculty possess the content knowledge that is a prerequisite to teach effectively in college. That knowledge, however, is necessary but not sufficient for our work. What students know and are capable of doing as a result of our courses is what matters most, yet the dynamic nature of our students, disciplines, and institutions means that a static approach to teaching is bound to fail. Our disciplinary expertise, no matter how great, will not allow us to resolve this wicked problem. We need to supplement our disciplinary understanding with a systematic yet flexible approach to designing learning experiences for students. This book outlines an efficient and powerful process to do that. Jones, Noyd, and Sagendorf are excellent guides along the way. They have synthesized the best scholarly literature on learning and teaching; they also have practical experience gained by facilitating scores of course design retreats for diverse faculty. 'Done well, ' Jones, Noyd, and Sagendorf remind us, 'course design is a scholarly and deeply creative activity.' With this book as our guide, we will make progress in building pathways toward deeper student learning in all of our courses."--Peter Felten, Assistant Provost for Teaching and Learning, Executive Director of the Center for Engaged Learning and the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning "Building a Pathway for Student Learning offers a practical, research-informed, systematic, comprehensive yet concise pathway for faculty interested in designing and building more effective courses. The book is itself a cleverly designed "curriculum" that will engage and assist faculty across the disciplines - from novices to veterans, working individually or collaboratively - in understanding and implementing 'backward design.' I strongly commend and recommend this book to academic administrators and faculty alike for its conceptual clarity, pragmatic advice and admirable brevity."--Tom Angelo, Assistant Provost, Director of the Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence (CAFE) and Professor of Higher Education

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