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Course Design Institute

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

People having discussion around table


CDI is open to Stanford faculty and lecturers from all academic disciplines. Participants will apply current research on teaching and learning to the development of a syllabus or selected class materials for their own Stanford course.

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

  • Articulate course learning goals
  • Develop course components, such as syllabi and lesson plans
  • Integrate research-based practices into course components
  • Align course design with principles of inclusive and equitable instruction

Academic Year 2022–23 Key Dates

The CDI will be held in person in 408 Panama Mall from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, September 7 through Friday, September 9, 2022.

Sessions will be highly interactive and will include time for participants to work on their course materials in the company of colleagues and with the guidance of CTL staff. Since space in the CDI is limited, attendance for the complete time on all three days is expected from those admitted.

However, we are aware that participants will have a variety of commitments to manage, so those who have strong reasons to participate but who anticipate conflicts should indicate this in their application. We will do our best to work with those admitted to ensure they have a fruitful experience.

The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. PDT on Monday, August 8, 2022.

Application for faculty and lecturers


For accommodations, questions, or other assistance, please contact Kritika Yegnashankaran at

CDI+ series open to CDI alumni

CDI+ is a continuation of CDI that runs as an optional series during the academic year and is open to all CDI alumni. Typically two sessions per quarter are organized, spanning a range of topics on effective teaching and learning. Instructors who participate in CDI+ can:

  • Deepen effective course design through consideration and discussion of teaching practice
  • Integrate research-based practices from learning science and the scholarship of teaching and learning into their classroom instruction
  • Acquire the resources to encourage and build community around effective teaching and learning at Stanford

Explore topics and resources from past CDI+ sessions

Learn more about CDI

In this short video, CTL staff and former attendees talk about the aims and student-centered approaches of CDI, and outline the benefits for instructors' courses and teaching experiences.

CTL staff and former attendees discuss CDI

Perspectives from past CDI participants

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