Course Design

This page features a number of the tools that I have developed through my work with faculty in curriculum design.

Active Learning Pitfall Prevention Planner

Pulling off active learning is hard. It is putting yourself in a vulnerable position as an instructor, but the rewards are huge. This active learning pitfall prevention planner can be used to help you better prepare your active learning activities.

Active Learning Pitfall Prevention Planner blog post link

Exam Item Analysis

Want to know if your exam items are any good? You will need to dig in to exam item analysis. This tool will help you know understand what all those numbers mean.

Multiple choice exam which links to exam item analysis tool

Better Multiple Choice Tests

Multiple choice questions are easy to give and they can get you lots data to analyze. But many educators and students hate multiple choice questions. This graphic organizer will help you write fantastic multiple choice questions.

Module Planner

This is a unit planner that I use to develop learning modules. I began with Understanding by Design as a framework. But made certain alterations that reflect the challenges that I have encountered in my experience teaching. This type of module planner is designed to help backward plan a unit, chapter, module, etc.

Assessment Design Checklist

This assessment design checklist is used to assess an assessment. The checklist includes the key questions one should ask when evaluating an assessment along with suggested evidence of understand and theoretical rationales for these criteria.

image of Assessment Design Checklist

TPACK Masher – Get Unstuck!

Solving wicked problems requires novel solutions. And given the number of variables involved and the competing interests, it feels like most teaching problems of practice are wicked problems. Therefore, in order to solve these problems we are going to have to think differently. I am reminded of a passage from one of my favorite children’s books, Top Secret by John Reynolds Gardiner. In it, a boy is stuck on a problem for his school science project, his grandfather gives him sage advice:

Demo Video for the TPACK Masher

“But I’ve tried, Grandpop. I’ve tried putting the pieces together. I just can’t seem to see the picture.”

“Have you tried thinking crazy?”


“Learn to think crazy, Allen. Let your mind go. Don’t be afraid to think of silly things, stupid things, things so ridiculous that you burst out laughing at the mere thought of them.” (Gardiner, 1999, p. 33)

One of my favorite tools for “thinking crazy” is the TPACK Mashup. We first encountered it in cooking with TPACK. I have been so taken with the practice that I actually designed an app to make TPACK-mashing easier. You can see a demonstration below and download the app here

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