CELT Course Design Institute

CELT Course Design Institute

The CELT Course Design Institute is a four-day event full of interactive, hands-on and collaborative activities to give ISU’s instructors skills, time and space for designing or substantially revising their courses.

Take a look at a typical day:

8:30 a.m.-12 p.m. – Learn about practical guidelines for designing a learner-centered course and various strategies for developing transparent and aligned pathways to student learning.

1-3:30 p.m. – Discover advanced Canvas functionalities and ways to apply them in your planned course design.

3:30-5 p.m. – Receive individual attention and guidance on your course design and development (optional).

Attendance of the Quality Matters (QM) workshop “Improving Your Online Course” on the fifth day, is optional. Participants will evaluate their completed course designs by using the Quality Matters (QM) Standards for blended and online courses. This workshop is available to all ISU instructors, with preference given to Course Design Institute (CDI) participants. Upon completion, all CDI participants will receive CDI and QM credits; those instructors who did not attend CDI but plan to attend the QM workshop will receive a QM credit.

By the end of CELT Course Design Institute participants will be able to:

  1. Develop a course design which aligns the course’s learning objectives, module-level objectives, learning experiences/activities, and formative assessments.
  2. Apply appropriate functionalities for creating course design elements in Canvas.
  3. Evaluate the completed course design using the principles of alignment.

A conceptual course design demonstrating a thoughtful alignment and at least one course element created in Canvas is expected from each participant. Created course designs will be discussed on the last day of the Institute with potential opportunities to showcase during future CELT programming.

What are the benefits?

  • Valuable networking opportunities and feedback from peers from different academic disciplines
  • Sufficient time to reflect and work on course design
  • Effective guidance and assistance with course development
  • Camaraderie and fun social time during the lunch breaks

Institute Outline

The Course Design Institutes will consist of a mix of small-group and large-group sessions, as well as individual work time and teaching consultations with CELT staff. Lunches, coffee and tea will be provided each day. For small-group sessions, participants will work in teams based on discipline and/or the kinds of student engagement their courses might involve.

Day 1: Walking in your students' shoes

Course design concepts: How people learn, principles of learner-centered course design, and the concept of course alignment

Canvas concepts: Course organization, course menu, entry page, and accessibility guidelines

Day 2: Defining your destination

Course design concepts: Course and module-level objectives, their characteristics and common pitfalls, alignment with summative assessments

Canvas concepts: Canvas modules, quizzes and course analytics

Day 3: Traveling the pathway

Course design concepts: Active learning experiences and activities, formative assessments and feedback, characteristics of transparent assignments


Canvas concepts: Assignments, rubrics, Gradebook and Speedgrader

Day 4: Staying on track

Course design concepts: Pulling all course elements together, inclusive syllabus

Course design showcase

Optional Day 5: Improving Your Online Course

Course design concepts: On the final day the CDI participants are invited to join a 4-hour Quality Matters (QM) workshop “Improving Your Online Course”

Participation in the workshop is optional. You will receive a QM credit and be offered additional guidance for certifying your online/blended courses if you choose to do so. Learn more from the CELT's Improving Your Online Course page.

Institute Follow-up and Support

All course designs will be given constructive feedback from the facilitators of CELT Course Design Institute as a way to follow up with participants on their plans to implement and continue to improve their courses in Canvas. All participants will be given an opportunity to schedule individual consultations with CELT designers throughout the Summer.


All faculty members (tenured, tenure-track, or term), and staff with a teaching role who have a genuine interest in learning about course design and development in Canvas are encouraged to apply for CELT Course Design Institute.

Participants will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Must attend all four days of the Institute
  • Must have a course to re(design)
  • Must use Canvas for teaching and learning
  • Preference will be given to faculty or staff intending to (re)design courses approved to be taught in 2020-2021
  • Department representation – an effort will be made to include as many colleges, departments and academic disciplines as possible, with two participants coming from the same college/department/academic discipline for fruitful peer-to-peer communication/collaboration

The Institute can accommodate 20 participants.

Application Requirements

Applicants will be asked to apply via the CELT Course Design Institute web form by providing:

  • Contact and Course information
  • What are 3 specific course design goals you hope to accomplish during the Institute?
  • What course design challenges do you anticipate having or have had in the past?

Deadline: The 2021 application will be available in early March 2021.


If you have any questions or anticipate requiring a reasonable accommodation upon being selected for the program, please contact: Contact Dr. Lesya Hassall, Facilitator for the CELT Course Design Institute and Program Coordinator, CELT via email at lesya@iastate.edu or call the CELT Office at 515-294-5357 or email celt@iastate.edu


All CDI participants will receive a certificate of participation from CELT and QM, if they choose to attend the QM workshop. Letters of participation will be sent to the corresponding department chairs in order to recognize the efforts of the CDI participants.