Course Design Institute

CDI 2023 is planned for May 22-26, 2023. Stay tuned for information and the application opening in early February.

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Course Design Institute logo

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

Several CDI participants work on syllabi at tables

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


Graphic of a Taxonomy of Significant Learning Application step: use, critique, manage, solve

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 department 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, and on your own course. 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 draft schedule gives you a closer look at how we spend our time in CDI.


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 programs. Participation is by application, and all GW faculty members are eligible.

How to Apply

The application closed March 22. IMPORTANT: You must be logged into your GW email to access the application form.

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 on March 22.

Dates and Location

Location: CDI 2022 will be fully online.

Dates: May 16-20, 2022

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. 


Click here to see a list of faculty who have completed GW's Course Design Institute since its inception in 2015. 

CDI participants work at tables on laptops

Image credits: c3Design and the University of Virginia