Zehnder Publishes Course Design Book

Learning that Matters book cover

Caralyn Zehnder, lecturer in biology, coauthored the book “Learning That Matters: A Field Guide to Course Design for Transformative Education”recently published by Myers Education Press.

Describing the message of the book, Zehnder says “Our society urgently needs education that motivates, challenges, engages and affirms all students. No matter their previous successes or failures, every student has enormous learning potential and important contributions to make now and in the future. Such meaningful learning experiences don’t just happen, they need to be intentionally designed.”

 Along with this powerful message, this book contains examples, strategies, and methods for accomplishing this important work in college classrooms everywhere.

Zehnder and her coauthors, Cynthia Alby a professor of teacher education at Georgia College, Karynne Kleine a professor of teacher education at Georgia Colleg, and Julia Metzker the director of the Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education at the Evergreen State College, wrote this book based on their years of experience in the classroom and their expertise in inclusive course design. “Learning That Matters” is a pragmatic resource for designing courses that engage college students as active citizens. This “work” book provides research-informed approaches for creating learning experiences and developing innovative, intellectually-engaging courses. Through implementation of critical concepts such as connected and authentic assessments; dilemmas, issues and questions; portable thinking skills and engaging strategies; and a purposeful focus on inclusivity and equity, readers begin the process of change needed for preparing students who will be able to address the monumental challenges facing our society.

“As the events of 2020 and early 2021 have underscored, never has it been more apparent that change to our basic institutions is needed,” says Zehnder. “Trajectory-altering learning experiences can no longer be secreted away for a favored few. We wrote this book to empower faculty to teach transformative courses that support all students.”

“If you seek powerful forms of inquiry through capacious issues that matter, this book is for you. If you desire evidence-based strategies to bring coherence to each student’s learning, this guide is crucial to that goal. If you seek insight into a liberated academy…rooted in democracy and equity to activate meaning-making by all students, this guide is a fresh glimpse into provocative possibilities for higher education,” says Rosalie Richards, associate provost for faculty development, Stetson University.

More information on the book can be found on the Myers Education Press website.