The CFE Course Design Institute (CDI) is a structured sequence of workshops, activities, and working sessions held over a 3-day period (12 hours overall) where a small cohort of instructors–generally between six and eight participants–are immersed in backward design approaches for developing their courses.

You can expect to leave a CDI…

  • understanding how and why to design a course based on goals and objectives;
  • having received feedback on your course design from Institute facilitators as well as from your peers; and
  • with a basic structure for your course and beginnings of relevant course materials.

The next CFE Course Design Institute will be held on:

The application period has closed for the June 2017 Institute, but applications are being solicited for the August 2017 Institute until 5:00pm (EST) on Monday, July 10th; acceptance and wait-list notifications will be sent to all applicants via email by Friday, July 14th. Priority will be given to faculty members who are teaching in the immediately upcoming semesters; remaining space will be allocated across all other applicants.

Upcoming CFE CDIs are scheduled for:

You may also apply for any future CDI via the online application, and, in general, you should expect to hear more about your application status about three weeks before that Institute is scheduled to begin.

Previous CFE CDIs:


Frequently Asked Questions

How would I benefit from a CDI?

The reasons that instructors choose are as varied as the disciplines in which we teach. Some are early-career faculty members developing new courses in their area of specialization. Some are seasoned faculty members who are looking for ways to refresh courses they have taught successfully for years. Others are attempting to frame their courses in such a way as to appeal to larger numbers of students, to better align with standards and competencies associated with accreditation, or to respond to feedback received from students about the course from previous semesters.

What happens after I submit my application for a CDI?

After you submit an application to participate in a particular CDI for a particular course, applications are reviewed by CDI facilitators through a competitive process and registration is generally limited to a maximum of eight faculty members per CDI. (Additional applicants will be added to a waitlist and/or be granted priority acceptance for a future CDI.) You will receive either an acceptance or a waitlist notification email approximately three weeks in advance of the CDI, and you will receive a reminder email a few days before the CDI begins. If you are waitlisted for a CDI, your application for a future CDI receives additional priority consideration. During the CDI itself, you are expected to attend each of the three sessions and to use the unscheduled time during the session to make progress on your course. There will be “homework” to complete throughout the Institute, which generally consists of expanding upon work done during the sessions.

What should I bring to the CDI sessions?

Because we will be working individually and together on course-related materials each day of the Institite, please bring a laptop or tablet along with digital versions of your existing course materials (e.g., syllabus, assignment descriptions). There are few quick options for obtaining substantive food near Wilson Library, so you may also want to bring snacks for yourself (if desired).

What have past participants said about their experiences at the conclusion of the CDI?

“It was really helpful to get exposure to both proven teaching strategies and innovative ideas to improve the classroom experience. The process of mapping objectives and assessments was especially useful.”

“”The CDI is the perfect space to develop, refine and enrich instructor’s ideas for teaching a course. The CDI includes various exercises oriented to reach a more developed stage in your course goals and objectives via reflecting, writing and discussing with faculty from across disciplines. The CDI design and instruction is an excellent exemplar of how faculty can teach a course –successfully– where participants are actively engaged and where the goals of the course are effectively reached.”

“Benefits: my syllabus aligns better with course goals/institutional goals. I can articulate the importance of/justify each component of the syllabus for both administration and students. I gained tools and techniques for developing other syllabi. I have better knowledge of Bloom’s Taxonomy, and plan to include a discussion on metacognition earlier in the semester. Learner-centered approach. I came with anxiety about the course and I left feeling empowered and energized. The community that developed in the CDI was also empowering and energizing. The colleagues in my cohort were incredibly useful for troubleshooting and for calibrating my syllabus relative to student and instructor workload (e.g. earning tenure while teaching well.) Challenges: a new way of designing syllabus requires different types of thinking–e.g. not content first (which was my training until this point.) I would have wanted a longer period (take me all the way through the course design, including assignments/assessments)”

What do I do if none of the dates/times schedules for the CDIs work for me?

If none of the dates/times for scheduled CDIs work for your schedule, please let us know, and we can try to better account for your availability in an upcoming offering. The CFE, as part of our pan-university mission, also offers individual consultations on course design to any UNC faculty member; please email cfe@unc.edu if you would be interested in working one-on-one with a CFE staff member to design your course.