Successful Revision of a Philosophy Course for BU Hub with CTL’s Course Development Institute
After teaching a course on Indian philosophy for Boston University’s College of Arts & Sciences, Lecturer Amod Lele revised the course for the new BU Hub general education requirements with the help of the Center for Teaching & Learning’s Course Development Institute. Not only was the course approved, it has become a more dynamic and engaging experience for Amod and the students.
My name’s Amod Lele and I teach in the philosophy department of the College of Arts and Sciences — a course in Indian philosophy. I also work in the Digital Learning & Innovation as a lead educational technologist.
I taught this course in 2014 for the first time and I knew I was going to be teaching it again in spring 2018. I enrolled in the Course Development Institute because I thought it would be helpful in at least two ways. First, I wanted to transform this course into a BU Hub course to help increase enrollments up. I also wanted to think about my pedagogy more generally and how to make the course more effective.
How Assessment Planning Aids in Course Design
My biggest take-away from the Institute was the variety of different teaching methods they recommended and made us aware of, both in the context of the classroom itself and in the context of the assignments that you give out.
The Institute focused a lot on assignments as something that could be assessed as a way of seeing whether you had actually met the objectives that you had set out for the course, and whether the students actually learned what they were supposed to learn. They had a lot of helpful suggestions for developing assessments.
I also found the course itself to be very successful in ways that had been important to me. When I taught the earlier version of the course in 2014 I found that the discussions tended to drag. It was hard to get the students to talk much. With the new version of the course, I found them to be much more engaged. I not only found the course more successful in class; it received very positive comments on my course evaluations.
How to Prepare
I would absolutely recommend CTL’s Course Development Institute to other faculty. Certainly if you’re thinking about teaching a Hub course, it gives you a very good background on exactly what that means and what you need to do for that. What you need to bring to it is what is specific about your course, what your course is, what your discipline is, and what your goals are for what you want students to learn. If you have a clear idea of those going into the course, you’ll get even more coming ou of it.