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Developing Purpose Statements to Shape Our Courses

I have found that the starting point for turning routine courses into transformative learning experiences is the formulation of a purpose statement that puts into words the potential long-term benefits of the course content. This purpose statement is the very first thing that students read on my course syllabi. It even comes before the course description. The purpose statement then governs the shape and content of the course in its delivery. It is this search for purpose and significance—and not the learning outcomes—that communicates a potentially contagious passion for the material.

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