A division of Libraries and Academic Innovation


Remote library services and resources and virtual tutoring services are available while library buildings are closed. Assistance with all services, including locating print materials or requesting materials be digitized, is available

Instructor support for Blackboard, academic technology tools and teaching questions is available on the teaching resources for the COVID-19 virtual learning period page.  

Course Design Institute (CDI)

May 18-22, 2020  - The application is now closed. 

Course Design institute LogoNote: You must be using your GW email in order to access the Application form. Applications will be accepted through March 24. 

CDI is a “bootcamp” style program that guides faculty through the design of a new course or the re-design 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.

All GW faculty members are invited to apply. The time commitment is an intensive 4.5 days and $500 stipends are awarded upon successful completion. Food and many opportunities to collaborate with fellow faculty are an integral part of the experience. CDI has proven relevant to any teaching mode. This year, we are adding more examples and discussion about adapting the many ideas for in-person courses to online courses. 

Benefits: 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 UTLC staff for ongoing feedback and support during the academic year
The Institute Process: 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 GW faculty and staff from the University Teaching & Learning Center who are available throughout the week, and after, for individual consultations.

Overview of what to expect by day 

Support: Due to the cohort nature of the program, participants are required to attend all sessions and complete 'homework' assignments. $500 professional development stipends (most as supplemental compensation) will be awarded to attendees upon successful completion of the institute. Terms of Completion are in the application. Also, we provide breakfast and lunch for sustenance and community. There is no fee for GW faculty. 
Attendees: Any faculty member who has a syllabus to design or redesign, graduate or undergraduate. CDI is ideal for faculty members developing gateway courses and for groups working on a curricular design or interdisciplinary program. 
Applications: Participation is by application, and all GW faculty members are eligible. Applications are accepted through March 24, 2020. Considerations for acceptance include:
  • evidence of faculty interest in improving course design
  • the 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. 

Schedule:  Block Schedule Overview for the week.
Resources and Research: Throughout CDI you will be presented with research supporting the teaching and design approaches discussed. Participants receive a copy of L. Dee Fink's Creating Significant Learning Experiences in Higher Education along with many articles, ideas, and links. Here is a 2016 study exploring one facet of CDI, Does the Document Matter? The Evolving Role of Syllabi in Higher Education
Testimonials. We firmly believe that participation in CDI can help you realize your dreams as a teacher to create truly transformative and memorable learning experiences for students. Here is some of what we’ve heard from our CDI alumni (listed separately):
  • I had heard of or tried course changes in a very ad hoc manner. I now see the big picture.
  • The CDI experience was beyond my expectations. It was a life changing experience.
  • My expectations were exceeded! This was incredibly inspirational and eye-opening. Come to think of it, I might have (subconsciously) expected a content-centered learning experience but, alas, it was very learning-centered!
  • It demystified the language of academic assessment.
  • Having other faculty to discuss challenges with, related and not-associated with my discipline, was a tremendous help. It was all about going out of my comfort zone.
  • CDI was an amazing experience. I believe every aspect was useful.

David Braun, Associate Professor of Anthropology and winner of the 2017 Trachtenberg Teaching Award discusses the impact CDI has had on his teaching

(GW Today story) (Transcript)

Sherry Molock, Associate Professor of Psychology discusses how the changes she has made to her teaching after attending CDI have impacted her students

(Vision Magazine story) (Transcript)

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