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Designing Courses for Significant Learning: Voices of Experience : New Directions for Teaching and Learning, Number 119

L. Dee Fink (Editor), Arletta Knight Fink (Editor)
ISBN: 978-0-470-55480-7
113 pages
October 2009, Jossey-Bass
Designing Courses for Significant Learning: Voices of Experience : New Directions for Teaching and Learning, Number 119 (0470554800) cover image


Higher education today is being called on to deliver a new and more powerful kind of education, one that prepares students to be more engaged citizens, better equipped to solve complex problems at work and better prepared to lead meaningful lives individually.

To respond to this call, teachers in colleges and universities need to learn how to design more powerful kinds of learning into their courses. In 2003, Dee Fink published a seminal book, Creating Significant Learning Experiences, that offered teachers two major tools for meeting this need: the Taxonomy of Significant Learning and the model of Integrated Course Design. Since that time, educators around the world have found Fink?s ideas both visionary and inspiring.

This issue of New Directions for Teaching and Learning contains multiple stories of how college-level teachers have used these ideas in a variety of teaching situations, with subject matter ranging from the sciences to the humanities. Their conclusion? The ideas in Fink?s book truly make a difference. When used properly, they lead to major improvements in the level of student engagement and the quality of student learning!

This is the 119th volume of the Jossey-Bass higher education quarterly report series New Directions for Teaching and Learning, which offers a comprehensive range of ideas and techniques for improving college teaching based on the experience of seasoned instructors and the latest findings of educational and psychological researchers.

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Author Information

L. Dee Fink founded and directed the Instructional Development Program at the University of Oklahoma from 1979 until 2005. He currently works as a national and international consultant on instruction in higher education.

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Advisors who teach a course, or use an advising syllabus, will find Designing courses for significant learning to be essential. Fink’s 2003 book, Creating Significant Learning Experiences introduced ‘integrated course design’ (ICD). Six years later this system has been widely adopted and this volume shares ten stories from educators who have used and found success with Fink’s method.

Teaching and advising for significant learning – helping students to have powerful experiences – is a wonderful goal. Fink’s ICD provides a useful system for designing a course or advising syllabus to reach towards that goal. This volume provides an entertaining and instructive view of ICD from the viewpoint of practitioners in the field. Their stories are insightful and well told. I recommend this book for advisors interested in improving the significant learning in a course they are teaching, or through the use of an advising syllabus.
—From NACADA Journal, Review by: Stephen Price, Physical Education and Recreation Studies, Mount Royal University

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