I was mountain biking up the 2060 switchbacks when I glanced up to the left. The edge of my road loomed steeply. “Wow, that’s high” I said to myself, imaging how hard it would be to scramble up the 120 feet of brush and rock with my bike on my back. I memorized a few landmarks and kept pedaling. I was there in a short and easy time. No surprise, that is why they build switched-back roads, to change a hard, nearly impossible ascent into a series of gentle inclines.
The analog to course planning holds. We design a series of small incremental learning opportunities that, if followed, get our students up the mountain of knowledge. Each step is “easy.” Yet, requires effort. If a student falters (stops pedaling) they stop or slide backwards. By working steadily, they will achieve the goals of the course. That is what the quizzes, homework, tests and projects are all about.