Guide To Teaching and Learning

Overview: Step-by-Step-Guide

The guidance below is for in-person, online and hybrid courses. Delivery mode does affect your decisions and actions needed but it doesn’t impact the design process. Done thoroughly, it may take a couple weeks for course design and maybe a few more to build materials, especially if the course is online or you choose to use online resources like videos and recordings to support an in-person course, a recommended strategy.

Basic course design planning:

  • Create or review and revise course learning outcomes.
  • Consider the learning activities (readings, audio and video recordings, group projects, lectures, etc.) you will include that will help students learn and achieve the outcomes you’ve articulated.
  • Consider how you will assess their learning in a variety of activities. Including low- and no-stakes activities has been shown to deepen learning and is highly recommended; it also promotes risk-taking and experimentation.
  • Consider the delivery of your course content: will it be in-person; in-person with online supplementation; online and asynchronous (students work independently) or online and synchronous (students meet with you and each other in real time) or mixed (course content delivered asynchronously via Canvas with some real-time interactions between you and the whole class, small groups, and individuals).
  • Consider the different ways you want students to interact with the content of the course, e.g., in-person lecture and discussion; in-person and/or recorded demos (recommended); video and audio recordings; screen capture for software or other demonstrations; readings; links to online content outside of Canvas. See more options in Digital Tool
  • Consider the different ways you will have students learn what you want them to learn, that is, what types of learning activities will you employ. E.g., hands-on activities that take advantage of active learning strategies; through exploration of real-world based problems; using various digital tools (in-person or online) such as Mural and other whiteboards, annotated readings using hy.pothesis; or via in-person lecture (keep them short!) and in-person and online discussion; in-person or online group work.

Now that you have an idea of what you want to do:

  • Consider the amount of time students will need to spend completing the activities and assignments using this time calculator and remember that they may be taking multiple courses. Try to resist deploying too much content.
  • Consider what students will be working on throughout the course, e.g., will there be many incremental independent assignments, group work, how will assignments scaffold and build on each other? And if the course is online, how will these activities and assignments function best online?
  • Consider requesting library instruction for your class. Options include in-person, live (synchronous) Zoom, Zoom recording, web-based research guide. Request Instruction
  • Draft your course map. This is essential for student learning; it provides a complete view of the course with the learner in mind. Mapping your course help you 
    • Create a manageable unit of learning
    • Determine effective student learning assessments that align with the outcomes you’ve articulated
    • Ensure that the activities are scaffolded so that learning builds incrementally
    • Allows you to articulate clear expectations
    • Provides you and your students with a roadmap to learning. This last is especially effective for student learning. They see wear they’re going and how they’re going to get there.
  • Write your syllabus.
  • Gather materials. To support students even in in-person classes, the more materials you can make available online via Canvas, the better. Contrary to popular believe, recording your lectures will not stop them from coming to class. Use in-person class time for active learning.
  • As you begin to think about building the course materials, consider access and equity. Videos should be captioned. Images should be described, etc.

Some Decision Points

  • Will you be creating videos of yourself speaking and determine what materials you will need? See more options in Digital Tools
  • Will you be creating screen-capture demonstrations? See more options in Digital Tools
  • What add-ons and additional software you will use and what you/students will use them for? Identify tutorial videos that will teach students how to use them. See more in Digital Tools
  • How do you want students to introduce themselves?
  • Will you use Quizzes and Grading in Canvas?

Once You’re In Canvas

Tools to explore in Canvas: 

Other software to explore:

  • The accessibility tools in your computer
  • AbbyReader (reviews your PDFs for accessibility (faculty access only)
  • Read&WriteGold (available to faculty and students, requires Google Chrome)
  • Scanning apps: Tiny Scanner, TurboScan, 

Begin to prepare your course materials

  • Record Introduction and Welcome message 
  • Write your ‘Start Here’ tips to orient students to the course
  • Record introductions to each module

Start to set up in Canvas: 

  • Post the syllabus
  • Change your home page to a “Custom Home Page” 
  • Create or update your Canvas profile 
  • Post your welcome message
  • Upload documents to the Personal Files Areas 
  • Create a way for students to introduce themselves and connect with each other. 
  • Create Modules and Discussions

Take The Next Step

Submit your application


To apply to any of our Bachelor's programs (Except the Bachelor's Program for Adult Transfer Students) complete and submit the Common App online.

Graduates and Adult Learners

To apply to any of our Master's, Doctural, Professional Studies Diploma, Graduates Certificate, or Associate's programs, or to apply to the Bachelor's Program for Adult and Transfer Students, complete and submit the New School Online Application.