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Uml And Design Layers Provide A Course Design Paradigm And Notation To Create Robust Technology Courses In Rapidly Changing Environments

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1364.1 - 10.1364.11



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Paper Authors

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C. Richard Helps

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Stephen Renshaw

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

UML and Design Layers Provide a Course Design Paradigm and Notation to Create Robust Technology Courses in Rapidly Changing Environments C. Richard G. Helps, Stephen R. Renshaw, Information Technology, Brigham Young University


Rapid changes in technology require frequent course re-designs and new lab equipment for various portions of the course. Keeping up with these changes requires significant time from faculty and also requires substantial financial support. We need methods for designing and modifying portions of courses to allow teaching of the most current technology without a continuous complete re-design of the whole course. The Design Layers approach offers a thinking paradigm that allows us to think about instructional design in a way that parts of the course change at different rates and can more easily be replaced if they are identified as separable components. This is analogous to object-oriented software design, where independent objects are replaceable as the system evolves.

This paper shows how Design Layers can be used to analyze course design and then presents the Unified Modeling Language (UML) as a notation for instructional design. We show how a variety of instructional scenarios can be analyzed using UML notation. The notation reveals important relationships in the instructional design and helps identify weaknesses and dependencies between course components. It also allows designers to compare different structures and strategies in technical instruction.

The UML notation system can be used to illustrate outcomes-oriented teaching approaches including continuous-quality improvement mechanisms built into the course design and instruction. This notation can thus show not only the instruction but also the various evaluation mechanisms used to monitor and improve the course for future students


Technology, as an academic discipline, is focused on application and integration of existing technologies. Students in technology disciplines need a substantive grounding in science and engineering design principles. They also need a deep understanding of their specialist discipline. Since technology has a strong emphasis on integrating various technology components it necessarily requires that technologists stay current with technological changes. Part of the challenge of teaching, learning and practicing in a rapidly evolving environment is the need for life-long learning. This presents a number of challenges for university faculty teaching in these disciplines.

One major challenge for technology faculty is the need to constantly review and re-design their course material to include significant technology developments within their field. This is

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Helps, C. R., & Renshaw, S. (2005, June), Uml And Design Layers Provide A Course Design Paradigm And Notation To Create Robust Technology Courses In Rapidly Changing Environments Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14654

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