The Course Design Institute (CDI) is an annual program that provides faculty and lecturers with a collaborative and immersive environment in which to design a new course or modify an existing course optimized for student engagement and learning.

Course Design Institute workshop

CDI is open to Stanford faculty and lecturers from all academic disciplines. Participating faculty and lecturers will apply current research on teaching and learning to the development of a syllabus or selected class material for their own Stanford course. Topics are designed to support both teaching efficiency and learning effectiveness, and will be tailored to the needs of the faculty participants.

By the end of the Course Design Institute, you will:

  • Articulate overarching course learning goals
  • Generate course components such as syllabi, assignments/assessments, rubrics, learning activities/agenda for in-class implementation
  • Integrate research-based practices from learning science into course components
  • Reflect on teaching practices, receive and give feedback on teaching

Academic Year 2019-2020 Key Dates

The general session CDI for all schools will be September 4-6, 2019 from 9:00am - 3:00pm daily. Applicants should identify the specific course that will be designed or redesigned during the Institute and complete the brief application form.

The deadline to apply for the general session is July 30.

General Faculty Application

For H&S new faculty, CDI will be September 11-13, 2019 from 9:00am - 3:00pm daily. Applicants should identify a specific course that will be designed or redesigned during the Institute and complete the brief application form.

The deadline to apply is July 30.

H&S New Faculty Application

Course Design Institute


Creating Engaged Learning

Research shows that students increasingly expect to be actively engaged in learning. The Center for Teaching and Learning's Course Design Institute helps faculty and instructors design courses for active learning.

Learn More

Sample Topics & Individual Work Time

The program will cover and allow for substantial peer feedback individual work time for the following topics:

  • Community building
  • Student-centered design
  • Choreography of goals, ancillary goals, assignments, assessment
  • Student motivation and inclusion
  • Syllabus and course organization
  • Student engagement


If you need assistance, please contact Gloriana Trujillo at or Kritika Yegnashankaran at

Perspectives from participants in the Course Design Institute 2018:

Natural Sciences

“As a starting faculty member I was passionate about teaching but didn’t really know what student­centered learning meant. The CDI helped me to identify key strategies I could use to improve my teaching, and I was able to improve student learning experiences and my evaluations! It was truly a game  ­changer for me.”

- Jose R. Dinneny, Associate Professor of Biology


“I decided to join CDI just two weeks after starting at Stanford as a junior faculty. I learned many useful teaching strategies, became aware of on­ campus resources available to Stanford instructors for improving their teaching, and the CDI turned out to be a great opportunity to meet my colleagues across the university who later become my friends and collaborators. For these reasons I recommend other interested faculty to join the CDI in the future.”

- Guosong Hong, Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering


“I used CDI to develop a required survey course (one I was kind of dreading), and ended up turning it into a show piece that I'm really proud of. The biggest takeaway was help developing big­ picture goals and then clarifying how they should manifest in all aspects of the course. The best part about doing CDI in my first year at Stanford was having an intensive shared experience with other faculty members, many of whom are now good friends! Just got a student email today: 'I'm enjoying your class so much so far. Studying this material is exactly what I want my Stanford education to look like'.”

- Roanne Kantor, Assistant Professor of English

Social Sciences

“I had never taught a course before participating in the Course Development Institute. The CDI helped me to think deeply about what I want my students to get out of my class, and how I can best make that happen. Learning about modern teaching technologies, such as Poll Everywhere, was extremely helpful. With this tool I was able to elicit feedback from students throughout the course and flexibly adapt the course to the students' needs and ideas.”

- Tobias Gerstenberg, Assistant Professor of Psychology