I remember first feeling excited and then scared when I started thinking about how to plan the course. I was excited because there were so many options and KAIST gives us a lot of latitude in how we design and run our elective courses. Then I started to feel scared because I didn't want the class to be boring or impractical and get a bad reputation after only one semester. Enrollment numbers and student feedback are important so planning an interesting and useful course was imperative.
The first thing I did was make a list of goals for the course. What would the students get out of it? What skills could they learn? What experiences could they gain? And finally, what information could they become more familiar with? Once I had a list of goals I made a second list of activities and projects. I saved this list and brought it to the first week of class. I explained to the students who had registered that this was a new course and even though I had some ideas about how it should be run I was open to suggestions. This is where things started to get fun.
We negotiated a large portion of what would take place in the course. We talked about how topics would be decided, how many people could work in a group, how the information on a certain current event topic would be shared, and how grading would be done. We decided that groups would choose a topic and work with it for two weeks. First they would research it and then do a short presentation about it. Based on the feedback and Q&A, they would then create a webpage for their topic or a set of informative videos. We are at the midterm week now and I feel like the course is progressing well. You can see what my students have created here: http://hss395.weebly.com/.
If I teach the course again I might do a few things differently but it would be because the new group of students made suggestions for what they would be more interested in doing. Planning a new course can be daunting but it is also an opportunity to create a new means for students to learn through English and have something to show for it at the end of the term.