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Course Design Institute

The 2023 Course Design Institute (CDI) takes place online May 22-26, 2023. Apply here by March 29. 


The Course Design Institute (CDI) is a “bootcamp” style program that guides faculty through the design of a new course or the redesign of an existing one in a facilitated, supported environment. Participants experience the iterative, dynamic, and scholarly process of learning-focused course design and the benefits of active learning. CDI is co-taught with a team of experienced faculty facilitators. 

All GW faculty members are invited to apply to this annual program. The time commitment is an intensive 4.5 days, and $500 stipends are awarded upon successful completion. Opportunities to collaborate with fellow faculty are an integral part of the experience. CDI has proven relevant to any teaching mode. We will discuss both in-person and online courses. 


Faculty members walk away with:

  • A final (or near final) syllabus
  • Experiences with active learning and understanding of learning-centered design
  • Access to a resource-packed website
  • A community of faculty and staff for ongoing feedback and support during the academic year
  • $500 stipend upon successful completion of all program elements

Learning Objectives

By attending CDI, faculty will know or be able to:

  • Apply an integrated design process for significant, long-term learning to their course
  • Discuss active learning and assessment approaches that motivate student learning
  • Peer review assignments and syllabi
  • Create a learning focused syllabus 
  • Collect meaningful feedback on their course for continuous teaching improvement


A multi-disciplinary group of instructors spend 4.5 days designing or substantially redesigning courses in order to promote significant, long-term learning. Participants explore learning-centered design principles in a large group setting and then work on their individual course designs in a small, discipline- or pedagogy-focused learning team. Teams provide brainstorming, individualized feedback, and on-going support opportunities; experienced CDI alumni facilitate the team activities. CDI is led by a team of GW faculty and staff from the Faculty Development team who are available throughout the week, and after, for individual consultations.

CDI will be fully online again this year, using a continuous combination of synchronous and asynchronous work throughout the week. We promise you won’t be simply sitting online. Rather, you will engage with faculty colleagues in live, interactive sessions and work on your own. To make this a valuable cohort experience, everyone is expected to clear their schedule for the week and participate fully. CDI really is a process.

Schedule at a Glance

This schedule overview gives you a closer look at how we spend our time in CDI.


Any faculty member who has a syllabus to design or redesign, for a graduate or undergraduate course, is welcome. CDI is ideal for faculty members developing gateway courses and for groups working on a curricular design or interdisciplinary programs. Participation is by application, and all GW faculty members are eligible.

How to Apply

The Application for CDI closes on Wednesday, March 29. IMPORTANT: You must be logged into your GW email to access the application form. Acceptances will be sent the first week of April. 

Considerations for acceptance include:

  • Evidence of faculty interest in improving course design
  • Expected enrollment for the course being designed
  • Whether the course is a required or gateway course
  • Specific support from a department chair or dean

Applicants will be informed of the decision approximately one week after the application closes on March 29.

Dates and Location

Location: CDI 2023 will be fully online. For people who would like a more social experience, we plan to offer an in-person option for activities on Wednesday and Thursday.

Dates: May 22-26, 2023

Testimonials from Past Participants

Participation in CDI can help you create truly transformative and memorable learning experiences for students. Here is some of what we’ve heard from alumni of our first all-virtual CDI, held in May 2020: 

  • CDI was an incredible experience, [and] as I reflect back I am feeling energized through the new ways that I have been able to conceptualize my courses.
  • Getting the opportunity to reflect deeply on my teaching in the company of such talented and committed facilitators was wonderful. 
  • CDI helped me review, reconsider, and re-assess my teaching style and syllabus, but in a collaborative manner and jointly.
  • Exchanging ideas with colleagues and listen to different perspectives and realities changes your perspective and give plenty of ideas.
  • I now feel that I know what I don't know and have the resources (at least a starting point) to get smart on what I don't know. 
  • I now know how to think about the connections between scaffolding, assessments, and course objectives.