Improve Access:

Course Redesign

"Landing" Courses

The focus of the course redesign work is courses that "land" students into STEM disciplines at QC and at QCC, with the goal of better preparing students for their next crucial phase of their educational trajectory in STEM. These are the courses that are prerequisites to the challenging "gateway" courses in STEM and STEM-related programs at QC in: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Geology, Mathematics, Nutrition Science and Dietetics, Physics, and Psychology and Neuroscience.

This activity targets the experience of students “landing” in STEM majors, through a course redesign effort that serves to improve access at STEM entry points

The Redesign Process

Cohorts of faculty for each "landing" course discipline participate in consultations with the HSI-STEM team, develop a plan, learn about principles of learning through workshops and an intensive summer retreat, and implement the redesign plan. Faculty focus on improving instruction by integrating research-based principles into their courses: prior knowledge, organization of knowledge, motivation, mastery, practice and feedback, course climate, and self-directed learning. Redesigned courses have refined learning outcomes, include new and sustainable in- and out-of-class activities linked to the learning outcomes, and provide students with resources to stimulate self-directed learning.

The underlying motivation for this process comes from the assumption that the “quality of student learning is directly, although not exclusively, related to the quality of teaching. Therefore, one of the most promising ways to improve learning is to improve teaching.” (Angelo & Cross, 1993, p. 7)

Outputs and Outcomes

The impact of the course redesign will be assessed through additional structured observations, by collecting course artifacts (syllabi, learning outcomes, assignments, student work), and by examining additional measures of student achievement (performance on assignments, final grades).


June 2017: QC & QCC Biology and Chemistry; QC Geology; QC Environmental Science

June 2018: QC & QCC Mathematics; QCC Geology

Math Faculty at QC:

QC and QCC faculty participants in HSI-STEM course redesign workshop held in summer 2017 in Douglaston, NY

Framework for Faculty Reflection

Ambrose, S.A., Bridges, M.W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M.C., & Norman, M.K. (2010). How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.

Angelo, T. A. & Cross, K. P. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for college teachers. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.

Barr, R. B. & Tagg, J. (1995). From teaching to learning: A new paradigm for undergraduate education. Change, 27, 6, 12-25.

Wieman, C. (2017). Improving how universities teach science: Lessons from the Science Education Initiative. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (See also: Carl Weiman Science Education Initiative at the University of British Columbia)

Participating Departments



Computer Science

Environmental Science