Course Redesign

The Faculty of Arts and Science is actively promoting participation in its two teaching and learning initiatives by partnering with departments to redesign an existing high-enrolment course as both:

  • A blended version of the course to be offered on campus - with the primary goal of enhancing student engagement through active learning;
  • A fully online version of the course to be offered through Continuing and Distance Studies - with the goal of attracting new distance students, thereby providing greater access to a Queen's education and raising enrolments in Arts and Science without increasing capital demands.

The two initiatives are not related directly in terms of their goals, but are related on a practical level. Good quality online materials can be used for both a blended on-campus course and a fully online version, making it efficient for the courses to be developed in parallel. Face-to-face learning activities in the blended course are replaced by equivalent active learning components in the fully online course.

The blended and online courses are being developed following best practices and using evidence-based research into teaching and learning. Consistent with recommendations concerning active and inquiry-based learning made in the University's 2011 Academic Plan, the initiatives are also aligned with recommendations put forward by the AMS Academic Affairs Commission in their report Virtualization at Queen’s: Directions for the Future. Blended and online courses are being developed within a quality assurance framework in consultation with university partners in the Centre for Teaching and Learning, Information Technology Services, and the Queen’s Library system.

The Faculty is supporting the Course Redesign project by providing a development stipend and by assigning an online instructional designer to each course. The Faculty is also leading an assessment study, measuring student engagement and learning in traditional and redesigned courses. By becoming co-investigators in the research study, participating faculty members are given the opportunity to become involved in pedagogical scholarship. The Faculty hosts course redesign workshops, which are open to everyone, as well as informal gatherings for course redesigners.

In Phase 4 (2015/16), five large first and second-year courses will join the Course Redesign project: Cities: Geography, Planning and Urban Life (GPHY 227/3.0); War and Modern Society (HIST 263/3.0); Introduction to Comparative Cognition (PSYC 205/3.0); Developmental Psychology (PSYC 251/3.0); and Social Determinants of Health (HLTH101/3.0). 

Phase 1 (2012/13) included: Ancient Humour (CLST 205/3.0), Women, Gender, Difference (GNDS 120/3.0), and Introduction to Sociology (SOCY 122/6.0).

Phase 2 (2013/14) included: Differential and Integral Calculus (MATH 121/6.0), Introductory Biology of Cells (BIOL 102/3.0), General Chemistry (CHEM 112/6.0; CHEM 113/3.0 and 114/3.0), Gender, Race and Popular Culture (GNDS 125/3.0) and Theatre in the Age of Film and Television (DRAM 205/3.0).

In Phase 3 (2014/15), five departments-GPHY, KINE, NURS, SOCY, and BIOL-will share a common, flexible introductory statistics course. The blended model will integrate online topic modules with adaptive learning exercises (based on Carnegie Mellon's Open Learning Initiative resources), weekly TA-facilitated learning labs during which students will work through concepts in small multidisciplinary groups, and optional professor-led lectures for students who wish to review and consolidate their learning.


Program in Course Redesign - outcomes analysis and design reports from multi-institution redesign project focused on large-enrolment, introductory courses (1999 – 2003)

Replacement Model for Course Redesign - provides examples of blended model redesign

Roadmap to Redesign - outcomes analysis and design reports from multi-institution redesign project focused on large-enrolment, introductory courses (2003 – 2006)

Graves, W., and C. Twigg. 2006. The future of course redesign and the national center for academic transformation: An interview with Carol A. Twigg. Innovate 2(3). [PDF]

The National Center for Academic Transformation. (2009). Four Models for Assessing Student Learning. [PDF]

Twigg, C. (2003). Improving learning and reducing costs: new models for online learning. Educause Review, 38(5), 30-38. [PDF]