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Curriculum Design & Lesson Plan example

Course topic:  Introduction to Interpreting Health & Nutrition Research

1.  Apply Backward Design:  Identify core learning objectives.


2.  Utilize the Universal Design for Learning framework:



3.  Engage Student Participation using Active Learning techniques. 


4.  Analysis and Response to Student & Peer Feedback


Core learning objectives:

  • Students are able to clearly define and apply analysis criteria to the qualitative assessment of health and nutrition research in an accurate and consistent manner.

  • Students are able to describe and demonstrate "real world" application and the potential impact of qualitative health and nutrition research assessment on their future healthcare practices.



  • Course format:  Module-based

  • Auditory learning:

    • Recorded lectures

    • Podcasts, audiobooks

  • Visual learning:

    • Powerpoint; Handouts

    • Key concept diagrams

    • Criteria flowcharts

  • Group learning:

    • Small Group projects

    • Large Group discussions

  • Individual learning:

    • Independent study



  • The Individual:

    • Reflection assignments

    • Formative assessments

    • Scaffolded projects

    • Appraisal & feedback with instructor


  • The Group:

    • Small group projects

    • Large group discussion

    • Peer Support & Feedback

    • Online discussion forum



  • Verbal Expression:  

    • Student presentations

    • Partnered activities

    • Group Discussion

    • Peer Debate & Feedback


  • Written Expression:

    • Weekly quizzes

    • Homework Assignments

    • 1-minute reflection papers

    • Take-Home Final exam

    • Final project

    • Peer Feedback


Active Learning Technique example

"Two-sides, Same Coin" Debate

The capability to consistently recognize high-quality research and apply it in practice is an essential skill for all healthcare professionals, regardless of role or specialty (i.e. academic, clinician, researcher, etc.).  The active learning technique of “Two-sides, Same Coin” debate is a method used to test a student’s ability to effectively perform qualitative and in-depth analysis of scientific research. 



  1. Students are split into groups of three participants and each group is assigned a specific section – Introduction, Methods, Results, or Discussion – from a selected high-quality research article.  ​

  2. Each member of the trio is designated a specific critique tone (either a “pro” or “con” position) for their assigned section, while the third member remains neutral and becomes the designated facilitator of discussion.  All input is guided by and recorded on a “critique template”, which is provided by the teacher and completed by the students prior to the class.

  3. During class, the students are asked to join their group members and debate / defend their position while the facilitator moderates the discussion, which effectively engages the class in peer debate and active participation in learning.  Additionally, this step provides each student with exposure to diverse viewpoints, which may or may not change the conclusion from their critiquing process. 

  4. At the end, the class comes together for large group discussion on insightful observations of the debating process.   Ultimately, the students are asked to consider post-debate insight and whether this process changed their position on the article and their confidence in applying the information in day-to-day practices.

  5. The students are asked to submit a reflection paper on what knowledge they had gained from the experience and how they envision the lesson changing the way that they approach the process of reviewing and critiquing research.


This active learning technique is an effective way of eliciting student participation, honing their critical thinking and reasoning skills, and provides a framework that can be utilized repeatedly by rotating roles, introducing new articles weekly, and driving discussion around individual and group perceptions (or changes to viewpoints).

The solicitation and analysis of feedback is an essential part of my curriculum development and lesson planning process, to determine the short and long-term impact of the course structure and delivery on the students learning process and integration into their lives.  I rely on three primary sources of feedback:

Student Feedback:

  • Daily 1-minute reflections

  • mid-course & end-course appraisals

  • Scaffolded assignments with formative assessment

  • Final feedback form (anonymous)

  • Online Open-Discussion forum

  • Chat group (via Line, WhatsApp, etc.)

  • Open & Convenient office hours

Peer Feedback:

  • Periodic class audit by peers

  • Mock session with feedback form

  • Participate in peer discussion forums

Self-Reflection Feedback:

  • Video recording & review of lecture

  • Daily reflection journal on strengths & weaknesses of each session

  • Weekly reminders to reinforce focus on core learning objectives

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