Selection and organization of content and learning experience
In the process of designing a course one of the inevitable steps is to decide on the content and the way of its organization. It includes deciding on a course structure, selecting a teaching strategy which will support learning goals and creating a schedule.
The course structure consists of two main elements: the choice concerning the topics and the way of the organization and sequencing of content of the course. It is important to choose and organize the topics in such a way so that it will be aimed at supporting the learning objectives of the course.
According to Woolvard and Anderson the majority of the teachers spend too much time helping students to master course content while they neglect the process of learning directed at using this content in a definite way. Focusing on too many topics can be considered as an obstacle in the way of student learning by displacing opportunities for students to put the skills and knowledge they gain into practice. The defining of a reasonable boundary for the course, that includes essential content giving students opportunities to be engaged in the content and to make learner process deeper, is a significant point in designing a course. [30; p.15]
To make a set of topics reasonable it is recommended by Davis to make up a list of all the content spheres that could be covered within the course and be relevant to the course subject and then by means of careful examination to differentiate the topics which are the most important among the list. [31; p.5] After the topics have been chosen it is possible to start developing a course based on these essential topics, adding a necessary set of materials such as books, articles, films, etc. to complete the topics and assist in attaining the learning goals.
There are a great number of rather effective ways of organization of a course directed at achieving particular objectives. The ways of arrangement the course can be the following: chronologically, from concrete to abstract (or vice versa), around a set of questions, from theory to practical application (or vice versa), according to disciplinary classifications and categories, around a set of practical problems or case studies, etc. when the instructor’s goal is to organize the course, it should be aimed at creating a structure supporting the learning objectives which have been identified.
It is necessary to build a course towards complication, starting with small component pieces and continue to work towards synthesis and integration. Fink supposes that the sequence of the topics should be made in such a way to be able to be based on one another so that it assists students in integrating each new idea, topic, or theme with the preceding ones as the course proceeds”. [32; p.128] Another view concerning the designing a course is expressed by the idea that the course should have a composition like in a story that is why it should has a beginning...