Penn State University

Course Design Academy

The Course Design Academy (CDA) is a highly interactive, hands-on learning community in which faculty design or redesign a course using evidence-based teaching and learning practices. By the end of the academy, you will have developed an overall course map and the learning pathways your students will take to achieve the course’s learning objectives.

The CDA is on hiatus for 2024. More information will appear here as soon as it becomes available.

Academy Objectives

  • Apply effective principles of course design and planning to design or redesign a course.
  • Integrate instructional and assessment strategies that engage and motivate students.
  • Align instructional activities with assessments to accurately measure learning.
  • Integrate inclusive teaching and learning praxis into the course.

Academy Requirements

The CDA is open to all Penn State faculty members with teaching experience, which is defined as developing instructional plans and/or materials and using those plans/materials to reach multiple learners at once. For the CDA, the following are examples of teaching experience.

  • Served as a graduate student teaching assistant responsible for planning and leading a lab or lecture section for a course (online, hybrid, or face-to-face)
  • Serving/served as an instructor or co-instructor for a course, including college or K-12 courses (online, hybrid, or face-to-face)
  • Developing/developed and delivering/delivered outreach programs for groups of learners (e.g., extension service, informal learning courses, serving as a docent)

The CDA is not designed to meet the needs of first-time teachers. The CDA draws heavily upon participants’ own teaching experiences to connect those experiences to CDA activities, discussions, and assignments.

Course design is intensive work, so you can expect to spend about 20-30 hours on it.

Participation in the CDA is competitive. Preference is given to faculty members who are designing a new course or redesigning an existing course for Penn State students, particularly those courses that have already received departmental and Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee approval.

Academy Benefits

Aside from course design, the academy presents an opportunity to deepen your teaching and learning practice, connect with faculty from multiple disciplines and locations, and share your work with others. Inspired by the CDA, past participants have collaborated on grant projects, presented at teaching conferences, and given invited talks on teaching topics.

Here's what some of our previous CDA participants had to say about their experience:

  • Great Program!! Great to interact with colleagues from other disciplines.
  • An amazingly helpful way to kick off my summer. THANK YOU!
  • It made a huge difference in my attitude on returning to the classroom in the fall, and it prompted me to develop a few new strategies that led to better work from my students.
  • It was well run and those in charge were really experts in their fields.
  • I appreciated the program, found it very helpful, and it also gave me confidence in teaching in the fall semester, as I have been out of the teaching realm for about 20 years.
  • I would love to do this again to redesign courses I have taught before!


Email questions about the CDA to


Penn State University