- represent a big idea having enduring value beyond the classroom
- reside at the heart of the discipline (involve "doing" the subject)
- require uncoverage of abstract or often misunderstood ideas
- offer potential for engaging students
- enable students to solve problems
- prepare students to think for themselves in the discipline
So, for a specific example, I not only want my students to know the characteristics of Romantic era literature, but I want them to be able to make comparisons to Enlightenment era literature (neoclassicism) that came before. Why was it important to change the existing philosophy of literature? I want students to be able to read something modern and tell me which era has influenced this modern text.
This is the overarching goal or big idea. This is where critical thinking or uncoverage comes into play. And this becomes the basis for designing a course.
If you'd like to follow along with me as I design a course that begins with a big idea that is worth understanding, check out this document which I'll be updating in the weeks ahead.