The Master Course Design Process Explained Using General College Botany as a Case Study
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This paper describes the master course design process at the largest institution of higher education in Colorado, USA. The master course design process demonstrated principles of backwards design and employed a team-based approach to course development. The course map was the primary vehicle for communicating the design of the course during development and later for accountability. This case study presented the redesign of General College Botany. The General College Botany curriculum employed authentic assessment and provided an andragogical learning environment. The central authentic assessment in the course was a term-long research project. Other assignments included wiki-building discussions, traditional quizzes, and at-home labs. The accounting of this process and the assignments described for an online science course provide a template for other institutions to follow when considering the implementation of master courses in higher education settings. As botanical curricula continue to be cut from degree programs and the need for remote learning becomes imminent in the modern world, the scaling of educational resources is facilitated by master course design. Master course design promotes accountability and standardization while also affording a well-researched, constructive, and blended learning environment.
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