The Office of Faculty Development

Purposeful Planning

Developing a clear and purposeful plan for your course is integral to ensuring that your students are set up for success and also aids in minimizing confusion and stress throughout the duration of the course for yourself and your students. Purposeful planning simply implies that the course is designed with intention and care. 

While creating a course plan, it is important to consider the demographics and myriad lived experiences of your students. Content selection and assignment design can drastically vary the experiences of students in any course. Taking the broader context within which a student enters the classroom can help to ensure that students feel the course is accessible and equitable. 

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    Examine selected research on purposeful planning. 

    Meador, D. (2019, May 4). Strategies for teachers: The power of preparation and planningThoughtCo. in new window)

    Components of a Semester Plan. California State University Northridge. in new window)

    Milkova, S. Strategies for effective lesson planning. University of Michigan: Center for research on learning and teaching in new window)

    Trauma-Informed Teaching and Learning in Higher Ed. University of Minnesota. (Google Doc)


    Ready to apply purposeful planning to your teaching? Here are some ideas and strategies to get you started:

    1. Find an organizational tool that you are comfortable with (Google Drive, Box, Canvas, etc.)
    2. Map out university holidays, professional and personal travel days, and other relevant dates (elections, campus events you plan on utilizing for course assignments, etc.)
    3. Consider the demographics and possible backgrounds of your students prior to selecting, or revamping course materials. How might you be able to shape your course content with student representation in mind?
    4. Consider the current geopolitical environment. What challenges and hardships might your students be carrying into the beginning of instruction and how might you be able to build around those experiences while also providing support? It is important to be mindful of events such as the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Camp Fire, and others that would have far reaching and long-lasting effects. 
    5. Develop a syllabus that helps students understand the course expectations
      1. Clearly identify student learning outcomes
      2. Clearly identify course requirements and materials
      3. Ensure that your syllabus is compliant with university policies and makes students aware of university resources
    6. Develop grading rubrics.
    7. Develop means of assessment appropriate for your course.