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Course Design

Course Design

Instructor Presence - Welcome to the Course!

Write a personal welcome letter to students to introduce yourself as the faculty for this course and set the tone. Include a little personal information, background, and previous experiences teaching this course to help form a connection. Adding a picture or short video helps to put a face with the course prior to the start date or if this is a hybrid/online course.

Consider how you will build that personal contact and communication with your students. The tone and examples you put into your course is how they will engage with the faculty and the rest of the class.

  • Frequent and timely student-faculty contact is an important factor in student motivation and involvement.
  • Instructors establish a welcoming, safe, and productive environment.
  • Tone, expectations, and engagement frequency are set early in the course and replicated in several areas, such as the Welcome, syllabus, course outcomes, discussion board, email, and other areas.
  • Clarify any technology requirements, or link to tutorials and other tech support.
  • Evidence of faculty interest and concern helps students get through challenging situations, inspires them to persevere, enhances intellectual commitment, and prompts them to think about their own values, experiences, and future plans.
  • Connecting with students leads to higher student satisfaction, motivation, and retention.
  • Create an inclusive environment initially by asking for their preferred name and gender. Use diverse content, learning activities, assignments, discussions, and assessments for an inclusive learning experience.


Dr. Louisa Hernandez - Education Adjunct Faculty

Louisa Hernandez

Office: 970-555-1234 email:

I want to welcome you to this course and hope that you will gain knowledge in educational pedagogy, curriculum selection, and teaching practices that will make your lessons pop! We will be exploring and creating lessons that are appropriate for a variety of elementary grade levels to meet students' different learning abilities and assist in challenging them to reach set goals to stay on track, go beyond, or reach their personal best. Students are encouraged to bring their own unique perspectives, experiences, and ideas to the course.

In this course, students will also be exploring educational technologies and resources that are commonly used in the classroom and the region. Students will be expected to gain knowledge and skills in using these technologies according to the grade level and subjects being taught. This course will require a consistent and stable internet connection and it is recommended to have a computer or tablet for this class rather than a small mobile device or smartphone due to the activities that students will be participating in.

I personally have been teaching in the Education program for the last 3 years, working with future elementary teachers across the Roaring Fork Valley and beyond. I was an elementary teacher in Colorado for 12 years, teaching 3rd and 5th grades, and then was an assistant principal for five years before joining CMC. I currently work for the school district full-time and teach 2 courses for CMC each semester.

In my spare time, I enjoy biking, working in my garden, and rafting with my family and 2 dogs.

Faculty establishes culture through communication, feedback, and performance standards in their course. These guide students to ways to ask questions, communicate with each other, and gain feedback from the instructor.  Providing 2-3 methods of communication that are consistently used throughout the semester is the best practice, no matter the modality or software used.


  • Inbox in Canvas
  • Faculty Email
  • Announcements
  • Discussion Board
  • Grading Comments & Feedback
  • Office hours via WebEx or Zoom
  • Google Chat
  • WhatsApp

When engaging and interacting with students in the course, faculty don't need to respond immediately. Rather let students know up front what your plans are with scheduled times and dates for communication and feedback to help students establish a consistent interaction with you and each other. 


For Student: Twice a week post to the discussion board, Tuesdays and Thursdays, due at 5 pm mountain time (reoccurring deadlines and times for student interaction)

For Faculty: General response time to student questions is within 24 hrs during the school week, but weekends may be more flexible if stated to students in the syllabus or course information. 

Grading: Grading with feedback is generally completed within 2-7 days of submission to the course via SpeedGrader in "Grades" or "Assignments".  This may vary depending on the type of assessment that is offered but is a good practice for weekly assignments and participation.

First Week Checklist for Students

  1. Access your Canvas course(s) on or before the start date.
  2. Read the Syllabus and course information.
  3. Review the course layout and components you will be using.
  4. Make sure your Canvas email is set to the one you will check regularly.  Learn How to Set a Default Email.
  5. Communicate with your instructor and fellow students.
  6. Complete all required assignments.
  7. Ask questions on anything you are not comfortable with or understand.


Remote Real-Time Framework & Teaching Tools

Remote Real-Time allows students and faculty to be online live from anywhere. However, a significant challenge is attention. Studies indicate that many students struggle with paying attention to content for more than 10 minutes in an online forum, such as Zoom or WebEx. One key strategy is to involve the students throughout the live class sessions with experiential learning

An experiential learning approach* to live class sessions engages students in active learning with key characteristics:

  • Immersive experience with content
  • Active involvement of students
  • Inclusive of students’ existing knowledge and/or experience
  • Strengthened by small group interactions and discussions for full participation and student to student connection
  • Proactive in the use of practice/experimentation for skill building & problem solving
  • Reflective time for metacognition to deepen learning & consider real-world application
  • Practical tools and examples

The experiential learning approach includes structured content, active experimentation, reflection, and pragmatic application within the live class session. 

Ideas for Active Learning. This image includes ideas for structured content delivery, active experimentation, reflection, and application for student immersive learning

This approach segments content and activities in such a way that students are learning and engaging throughout the session. For example, one class session agenda might look like this: 

Class Session Example suggests 5 minutes for prior student knowledge, 10 minutes of micro lecture, 10 minutes of active experimentation, time for debrief and planning for application.

To plan your class session, use this Synchronous Class Session Planning Template

*This experiential learning framework and template are based on adult learning theory resources:

Based on the technology required of the students, provide a section in your introductory module with tutorials or types of technology used with instructions and descriptions.