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Designing a Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience

Get a digital badge — or micro-credential — for completing this program.

Designing a CURE badge



Time commitment

12 – 15 hours


Online synchronous and asynchronous through D2L

Program overview

This badge provides proven strategies, resources, exemplars and critical friendships for instructors in designing course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs). Participants will proceed step-by-step toward (re)envisioning class or lab-based activities as an independent or collaborative research project for students. Participants will begin with uncovering the tenets and benefits of undergraduate research as an experiential learning approach and how to build a course-based community of researchers in online or in-person contexts. You will identify teaching assumptions, disciplinary-specific methods and your goals for students through exercises, group discussions and contemplation. You will have opportunities to compare and critique existing CURE activities, descriptions and assessment protocols to inform the development of their own context-relevant designs. You will be coached to confidently surface ideas and share considerations as they determine what activities and logistics will work for implementing original and captivating CUREs in the courses you deliver.

Program details

This program is open to academic staff and postdoctoral scholars at the University of Calgary.

  • Describe key features of providing quality undergraduate research experiences including benefits for students
  • Design teaching activities and set accompanying logistics to involve active and iterative student learning via research
  • Consider opportunities for students to collaborate and/or involve community-engaged learning
  • Formulate a means to cultivate a research community within a course, either in-person or online
  • Articulate a dissemination activity for students to share their research beyond the class
  • Design a critical reflection and/or authentic assessment protocol to consolidate students’ research-based learning
  1. Quality CUREs

    May 19, 2022
    1 – 2:30 PM

    Participants will learn about four qualities of meaningful course-based undergraduate research experiences and how undergraduate research fits into the field of experiential learning at UCalgary. We’ll also cover the ways in which course-based undergraduate research benefits students, in particular with their skill development and self-efficacy to locate the rationale for this kind of approach. Finally, we’ll take a look at several tools available to facilitate the design of research-based teaching and to support research project-based learning for the class or lab.

    Learning outcomes:

    • Explain the four components of high-quality undergraduate research experiences
    • Describe and define undergraduate research
    • Articulate three or more benefits of undergraduate research for participating students
    • Indicate one or more tools to guide the development or implementation of CUREs
  2. Instructional Inputs & Formative Feedback for Learning

    June 2, 2022
    1 – 2:30 PM

    Participants will hone in on the planning and logistics of teaching inputs and iterative learning to support research projects in the undergraduate classroom or lab based on features of classes and students at the level they intend to offer a CURE. Through peer-based discussion, participants will determine individual or collaborative projects elements, formative feedback cycles for assignments, and any community-engaged aspects. We will also discuss ways to engage other members of the instructional team, where available (i.e. teaching assistants, lab coordinators, librarians, or research coaches). These logistics and decisions can be incorporated into existing syllabi.  

    Learning Outcomes:

    • Determine key features of a CURE including: individual or groupwork, community-engaged learning, and mobilizing an instructional team (e.g. teaching assistants or lab coordinator)
    • Establish formative feedback protocols
    • Set and order the logistics for the CURE across a term
  3. Critical Reflection and Assessment

    June 16, 2022
    1 – 2:30 PM

    Participants will learn about authentic assessment, specifications grading, and other optional protocols and dissemination options relevant to facilitating experiential learning, critical reflection and mentored research at the undergraduate level. We will also cover key approaches for developing a community of researchers within a course, lab group or student cohort. Finally, participants will generate CURE description based on their design and consider evaluation and their own learning.

    Learning Outcomes:

    • Receive and provide peer review of other participants’ CURE project drafts
    • Articulate dissemination activity for students to share research beyond the class
    • Express features of cultivating a research community within a course
    • Critically reflect on collaborative and participatory professional learning and self-assessment as a learner
  4. Capstone project

    Participants will draw on synchronous and asynchronous learning activities and resources respond to peer and instructor feedback to generate a final plan and some contingencies for implementing CUREs and for disseminating CURE student projects; this plan will also include a critical reflection on the learning that occurred throughout.

    Due date: July 29, 2022


Kara Loy

Educational Development Consultant
(Experiential Learning & Undergraduate Research)