Preparing to Teach

Preparing to Teach


The preparation required for teaching a course begins by taking into account the situational factors influencing student learning (Fink 2003). Prior to designing your course, consider class size, prerequisites, the typical student profile and if the class is a requirement. Also consider the nature of the subject and the type of thinking you will be asking students to accomplish since preparation involves establishing what it is you want students to learn and how they will go about learning it.

After taking into consideration situational factors we recommend using the backward design process to organize your course (Wiggins and McTighe). Backward course design ensures that all of the lectures, learning activities, assignments, and tests fit together in a way that motivates your students and engages them in learning that moves beyond the rote memorization of facts. It also provides evidence that your students are achieving the course goals and desired outcomes.


The following links provide information about Indiana University that may help you identify situational factors for your course as well other resources to help you get ready to teach.

  • Academic Calendars: Includes official yearly calendars, final exam dates, schedule of classes and future 9-year calendar.
  • IU Fact Book: An index to the IU Fact Books from 1996 to the present. The Fact Books include information on the university, academic programs & degrees, alumni, enrollment, fees, personnel, physical facilities, and finances.
  • Where's that Class?: This list of Academic Building Codes connects to the online campus map.
  • Enrollment Bulletins: IU Academic Bulletins from 2001 to the present organized by school and year.
  • Office of the Registrar. It includes course & section enrollments back to 1997 and Campus Grade Distribution Reports.
  • Fink, D. (2003). Creating significant learning experiences. San Francisco: Jossey Bass. Chapter 3 addresses situational factors when planning your course.
  • Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design. Alexandria: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. The backward course design process used by instructors at IUB has been modified and adapted from this book