Understanding by Design

I can’t believe it! By God’s grace, I have “UbDized” Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (INTROAI), which I will be teaching this trimester! I’m truly amazed at how far I’ve come as a teacher, all by God’s grace.

Basically, the first step of designing a course using Wiggins and McTighe’s Understanding by Design (UbD) is determining the expected attributes of those who will graduate from a school, program, or course, and the desired learning results associated with these attributes. Thanks to Br. Ricky Laguda (the former Chancellor of De La Salle University – Manila, now the President of De La Salle Philippines, who also happens to be one of my favorite teachers), I did not have to do the very difficult task of extracting the expected Lasallian graduate attributes (ELGAs) from the Lasallian vision-mission and other documents.

INTROAI Syllabus, page 1. Click image to enlarge it to fit your screen.

The second step of UbD is to design authentic assessments that will serve as valid evidences of the ELGAs and desired learning results, and to design the rubrics for these. Actually, last school year I already had three projects as the major authentic assessment tasks of INTROAI along with some very simple rubrics. This time, all I had to do was to firm up the specifications of these projects and flesh out the barebones rubrics.

INTROAI Syllabus, page 2. Click image to enlarge it to fit your screen.

The third step of UbD is to design learning activities that will enable students to do well in the assessment tasks, including and especially the authentic ones. I remember how Sr. Joy Luz (who taught me and my classmates a year ago in Instructional Leadership how to do UbD) would frequently give us feedback on intermediate deliverables so that our final deliverable would be good at least. So that’s what I tried to emulate in my learning plan.

INTROAI Syllabus, pages 4-5. Click image to enlarge it to fit your screen.

I first learned about UbD a year ago. (Thanks, Sr. Joy!) Now, I have UbDized (or have done the first UbD iteration of) what I thought would be a very tough Computer Science course to UbDize. And last month, I actually facilitated (!) a departmental workshop on designing ELGA and UbD-based courses. Truly I’m amazed at how far I’ve come in terms of being a professional educator, and this is just the beginning! It is all so exciting!

(I will be posting the INTROAI course syllabus, and all related documents, such as the specs of the authentic assessment tasks on my web site tomorrow.)


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