About the Book

book cover of Designing Effective Teaching and Significant LearningMany new full-time, adjunct faculty and early-career faculty have gaps in their abilities to teach well so students can benefit from significant learning. Understanding the art and science of teaching usually takes semesters as faculty learn from their experiences. The purpose of this handbook is to shorten the time it takes you to design your teaching so that it is effective and delivers significant learning. The book is designed to read cover to cover or to start with what you need immediately as a just-in-time solution to help your work. Each chapter is written like a course unit with outcomes, points to ponder, faculty stories and experiences, bright ideas – practices that have been successful and an action plan outline to help you implement that content into your practice.

The authors have designed innovative practices and tools to help faculty and administration improve learning experiences for students and share examples of how faculty used Fink’s Taxonomy of Significant Learning to create high-quality courses.


Topics include:
  • Preparing to design engaging courses.
  • Integrating your course design by aligning course learning outcomes, activities, and assessment.
  • Writing learning outcomes to deliver significant learning by students.
  • Developing a course communication plan.
  • Creating a learning framework.
  • Developing learning activities and techniques that promote deep learning.
  • Making your course accessible so all learners succeed.
  • Integrating learning technologies to increase student engagement.
  • Assessing student learning.
  • Assessing course quality.
  • Assessing your program and institution.
  • Reflecting on your teaching and providing evidence of your work.
  • Learning how to learn by designing your professional development.
  • Over 70 “Bright Ideas” which are useful teaching and learning practices you can use immediately.
Book Reviews

Several faculty, authors, and directors of centers for teaching and learning have shared their reflections about the book. Read all book reviews.

“Want to take your capabilities as a teacher from ‘Good’ to ‘Great’? This book can help you do that. It focuses on just the right range of topics, and has a powerful blend of stories, examples of good course design, and substantive guidance.”

Dee Fink, former Founding Director – Instructional Development Program, University of Oklahoma


About The Authors

This book is a collaboration of colleagues from Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. Each author is a recognized leader in their field of teaching and learning and is committed to sharing their experiences to help other faculty and administration understand and use these best practices to improve the academy.

Their experience combines over 100 years of teaching, 75 years of leading centers for teaching and learning, and presenting internationally at over 500 conferences, workshops, and webinars on topics of course and curriculum design, online teaching, and classroom learning strategies. The authors have been the “go-to” experts on their campuses and have worked closely with faculty and administration to develop innovative ways to improve teaching for faculty and learning for students. Together they have impacted thousands of students’ experiences in the classroom.


Bonus Book Chapters

We didn’t have enough room in the book, Designing Effective Teaching and Significant Learning, for everything we wanted to share with faculty. We are including this additional chapter to assist you with your professional development.

Making a Strong Start on Your Campus – Linda Russell  

These are very real concerns for faculty who are new to an institution. What is your primary role? How can you adjust to new courses, new campus, and new colleagues and also be expected to jump onto committees or take on new research responsibilities? How can you be good at everything?

Working Effectively with Your Dean or Chair – Zala Fashant 

The relationship you have with your dean or chair can be one of the most rewarding in your work. However, it can also be one of the most complex. A successful partnership with your dean or department chair will offer you many opportunities to advance in your career. However, some deans or department chairs are mysterious.

Using STEAM to Power Your Course Design – Zala Fashant  

Each discipline has a unique set of thinking. There may be core elements that overlap as in a Venn diagram while there are specific thinking skills that need to be applied by novices that are preparing for a career. The STEM disciplines have defined the unique thinking and acquired skills their students require for significant learning. Recently, there has been a discussion of how the Arts are best integrated to improve STEM experiences. In this article we will examine how course design for STEM and STEAM can best meet the needs for teaching and student learning.


Course Design Topics

Dee Fink Materials