Course Design Assistants (CDAs)

Masked students at a table with a red rug and plants around.

Photo Credit: Matt Dilyard

Click Here for CDA Resources – Summer 2020

Course Design Assistant (CDA) Opportunities this Summer

As we move from our “quick pivot” to remote learning this Spring to a more strategic approach to virtual learning options for the Fall, Academic Affairs & APEX (with generous support from the President’s office) are retooling the Virtual Research Assistant (VRA) program we launched in April to offer faculty support as they prepare courses for the Fall.

We also see tremendous value in getting our students involved as Course Design Assistants (CDAs). With the shift toward virtual learning, students often have unique insights to offer (and skills with particular platforms) that will be of great benefit.  Whether faculty plan/desire to teach fully remotely, fully in-person, or in a hybrid format, we must all be ready to shift online again if there is a resurgence of COVID next year.

There will be three rounds of Faculty Applications fro CDAs:

  • 1st Round: due Monday, June 8 @ Noon (for those who already have course-related projects they’d like assistance with)
  • 2nd Round: due Monday, June 29 @ Noon (following the 1st “Building Connections: Course (Re)Design Workshop, where you will get ideas about course planning that you may want additional assistance to implement)
  • 3rd Round: due Monday, July 13 @ Noon (following the 2nd “Building Connections” Workshop)

Faculty are not precluded from applying in multiple rounds, but preference will be given for those who have not previously received support.

Some options for work with Course Design Assistants might include:

  • Look for new content (accessible readings, video, museum exhibits, art galleries, etc.)
    • Library subscribed e-resources, such as journal articles, books, and media
    • College of Wooster Digital Special Collections
    • Open Access e-text & e-archival resources
  • Considering different digital platforms for social media assignments
  • Format course plan in Moodle (Moodle access & templates will be available after June 15)
  • Upload course materials to Moodle
  • Reformat syllabi to be more accessible to all students (see, for example,
  • Add visuals to syllabus, assignments, and learning platform (with alt text for screen-reading)
  • Organize course materials into a library in Zotero (
  • Create presentation slides for course (PowerPoint instructions & ideas here
  • Assist with setting up a WordPress course website (
  • Assist with lecture capture & video recording (if student is on campus)
  • Time permitting, students can also offer research assistance, but there should be some connection to pedagogical development for 2020-2021 courses

Ultimately, this collaboration assumes that faculty & students are partners in learning, and that our students can not only benefit from the opportunity to have employment over the summer, but also in gaining valuable professional development experience with the “back end” of the course development process.  For faculty, we can benefit greatly from our student’s feedback as we (re)design courses to help them make connections to our fields in new ways.



Finding students to be CDAs:

  • All continuing students are eligible to be CDAs, though please be aware that international students currently outside the country might not be eligible to fill a CDA position for income, due to immigration and Social Security regulations. If they are unable to be paid, they can take the position for course credit.
  • Over 250 students (!!) have indicated interest in serving as CDAs, including 40 who are currently on campus.  Please be in touch with Cyn Bernardy ( if you would like to look at the list of students who have indicated interest, which includes information on their skills & interests.
  • You may also reach out to a student you already know you would like to work with and indicate their name on the application form

Student Experience:

  • Time commitment: 45 hours minimum, 140 hours maximum
  • Compensation: students will be paid the standard summer Sophomore Research Assistant rate: $11.60/hour (students must be approved for work through the Student Employment Office prior to beginning)
  • Academic Credit (in lieu of payment): If a student would prefer to receive academic credit for CDA work (many dropped courses in the Spring & may wish to make up credits), they may fill out the “Register for a Tutorial” form (available here) and indicate the instructor’s name, “Course Design Assistant” as the title, and the amount of credit (140 hours = 1.0 credit; 75 hours = 0.50 credit; 45 hours = 0.25 credit).
  • Start date: as early as June, no later than July 20, 2020

If you are interested, please fill out the CDA Faculty Interest Form

If you have general questions, please contact: Craven, Dean for Faculty Development,

For questions about CDA Application Forms & interested students: Cyn Bernardy

For questions about student employment: Jenni Griffin, Dean of APEX,

For assistance with technology (beyond the links provided above that offer training on various applications): Tech Services Help Desk: 330-287-4357,

And for assistance with course materials: Subject Librarians (specialties listed here):

It really does take a village!

This website is maintained by the Dean for Faculty Development at the College of Wooster. Contact me if you have questions or suggestions. Dr. Christa Craven: