Designing a new course.
Designing any course or programme of study requires us to answer a series of interlocking questions relating to:
- The overall purpose of the course.
- The ways in which the course will prepare and equip the students for a specific range of ministry opportunities.
- The specific learning objectives to be incorporated in the course.
- The ways in which students will be enabled to demonstrate what they have learned and be formally assessed and given grades for their work.
Once the broad outlines have been defined the next stage involves asking questions about the best sequence of teaching and the most appropriate ways of presenting particular topics or themes. Some of the questions raised at this stage could be:
- Which elements should be taught by whom.
- What arrangements need to be made for one-on-one andsmall group processing of various aspects of the course.
- How should genuine breakthroughs in understanding and competence be recognised and celebrated.
Running alongside these questions there are questions about the criteria to be used in deciding whether or not particular applicants should be accepted on the course. It may be necessary to define 'entry requirements' such as previous knowledge or experience in related fields of learning or particular abilities that are key to success in this particular course.
If we decide to accept students from other cultures, with varying levels of competence in the language in which the course is being offered, we may need to agree ways of helping them to succeed and to define alternative ways of enabling them to demonstrate what they have learned.
The questions don't end when the course is up and running. They are used for ongoing monitoring of the progress being made towards the objectives and for decisions about any adjustments that may be necessary to achieve the overall purpose of the course and guarantee the success of the students that embark on it.
Pamela Gregory 2007