Design your course | Duke Kunshan University

Design your course

As you design your Duke Kunshan undergraduate course(s), ask three questions:

  1. What should students be able to do after they have completed your course?
  2. How does your course fit into Duke Kunshan’s curriculum and animating principles? 
  3. What are your students’ cultural backgrounds, academic preparation, assumptions about higher education and language proficiencies?

In response to the three questions, we have some recommendations:

1. What should students be able to do after they have completed your course?
Write clear learning objectives to guide how you design and teach your course. Both Fink Taxonomy of Significant Learning, this Self-Directed Guide (PDF) and Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy provide good frameworks, useful verbs for writing good learning objectives, model questions and instructional strategies.

If you’ve wondered why learning objectives are so important, read this summary from Carnegie Mellon University and the blog post Why Does Writing Good Learning Objectives Matter?

2. How does your course fit into Duke Kunshan’s curriculum and animating principles? 
Incorporate the university’s curriculum and animating principles into your course learning objectives. These videos by Noah Pickus provide an overview:

3. What are your students’ cultural backgrounds, academic preparation, assumptions about higher education and language proficiencies? (Situational factors)
As Duke Kunshan is a new institution, information about the situational factors that will influence the curriculum and courses is still developing.

Professor Don Snow, director of the Language and Culture Center, and his colleagues have produced an overview of English skill profiles of Chinese students as well as recommendations for designing courses that help Chinese students hone their academic English skills and, more broadly, help all students build strong written and oral communication skills.

Linda Zhang, a Duke and DKU Global Learning Semester student, has prepared an overview of gaokao and Chinese high school education. Understanding how Chinese students learn in high school can inform teaching and learning at Duke Kunshan, and therefore lead to better-designed course learning activities in and outside the classroom.