What is the C3 Lab?

Creative Course Collaboration (C3) Lab is an experience where teams of faculty members collaborate to make good courses even better. C3 teams draw on the best ideas from colleagues on campus as well as the scholarship of learning and teaching. Each C3 team meets together for 2-3 hours per week. Team members spend a few hours each week in study and development.

The Creative Course Collaboration (C3) Lab is an experience where teams of faculty members collaborate to make good courses even better, especially for first-year students.  Guided by a faculty colleague and supported by instructional designers, C3 teams draw on the best ideas from colleagues on campus as well as the scholarship of learning and teaching. 

While each team will explore many of the same critical questions (e.g., “How can we help more students succeed in the course without lowering the bar academically?”), they will probably come up with different answers.  The bottom line is that in the C3 Lab, dedicated teachers help each other step back from their courses and intentionally improve learning experiences for students.

C3 Core Premises

C3 is built on 3 core premises:

  1. Even though our courses are good, they could be even better.

  2. We can build even better courses—and help students learn more—by tapping into:

    • Colleagues’ fresh perspectives
    • Expert campus resources
    • New technologies
    • How new generations of students learn
    • Best of scholarship of learning and teaching
    • Best practices from across campus
  3. Faculty become inspired and innovative teachers when they:

  • Collaborate with other teachers
  • Engage in the scholarship of learning and teaching
  • Seek access to gifts of the Spirit

Measurable Outcomes

  • Build networks of collaboration for improving learning, teaching, and design
  • Build design-minded faculty
  • Improve courses using networks of collaboration
    • Develop a clear set of goals for the C3 Lab that are approved by the course lead and department chair by the first week of the lab. 
    • Write a vision statement for the course that captures hearts and inspires students. 
    • Verify that all CLOs are measurable, observable, and aligned with the course vision.
    • Map the common key assessments to the modalities that they serve.
    • Map course activities to course, program, and institutional outcomes
    • Identify how the learning model is implemented in the course
    • Design courses for easier shareability (adjunct) and simpler maintenance.
    • Improve course design by gathering, considering, and analyzing a variety of inputs, including SoTL, faculty voices, student voices, course performance, and data sources. 

The Vision for C3

  • Create a culture of inspired inquiry and innovation. 
  • Create a culture of friendship, collegiality, and collaboration.
  • Team members will become intentional designers of learning experiences. 
  • Team members will become practitioners of the scholarship of learning and teaching.
  • Harness technology to so that the modern BYU-Idaho student engages and learns more.
  • Create innovative and engaging General Education courses that help BYU-Idaho students from all backgrounds succeed.

The Team

Each C3 team meets together for 2-3 hours per week. Team members spend a few hours each week in study and development. 

  • 1 Course Steward (team lead, 3 hours PDL)
  • 2-4 Faculty (1-2 cross-curricular, 1-3 hours PDL)
  • 1 C3 faculty facilitator
  • 1 Course designer
  • Industry/Subject Matter Expert (SME)
  • Student representation

More info...

The Process

  • The team will wrestle with the C3 Lab Core Topics
  • The team studies research, best practices, literature, and tools.
  • The team meets to discuss, brainstorm, and collaborate.
  • The team creates solutions, designs materials, and instructions.

C3 Core Topics

There are 11 core topics that each C3 team will tackle (4 areas with 2-3 topics each). Each topic has a driving question that will guide the work you do on each topic. The course teams will determine the order and duration of time spent on each topic. 

Well-Designed Curriculum

  1. Course Vision - What do you want students to be, know, or do 5 years from now as a result of the course? How can we improve the alignment between ILOs, course outcomes, assessments, and activities? 
  2. Assessments - How can we design assessments to be more effective, authentic, and meaningful?  

    Where can we have a common assessment(s)? 

  3. Course Layout - How can the course design and navigation better support student learning? 

Optional topics in this area might include learning materials, visual design, teaching notes, teaching assistants, technology, and syllabus.

Student Success

  1. Proactive Intervention and Communication - What processes and strategies can we create to identify and proactively reach out to at-risk students and help them succeed?

  2. Assignment Structure for Student Success - How can we better structure class time, assignments, and assessments so that students learn concepts they don’t initially master?

  3. Additional Strategies/Interventions to Increase Successful Completion - What are 1-2 additional changes we could implement to help most students succeed without lowering the bar academically? (using the list below) 

Optional topics in this area might include international students, classroom community, affordable and accessible materials, student mindset and perseverance, teaching students how to learn, and mental health. 

Active Learning

  1. Use of Class Time - How can we better use students' preparation time to increase quality experiences in class? 

  2. The Learning Model  - How can we more effectively align learning activities with the Learning Model and its principles, so that students are more active and less passive learners?  

  3. Learning by Faith - How can we help students approach learning in this class as an act of faith? 

Optional topics in this area might include methodologies and strategies like team-based learning, problem-based learning, project-based learning, decision-based learning, case-based learning, design thinking, experiential learning, service-based learning, differentiated instruction, peer instruction, and technology tools/strategies. 

Transcend the Discipline

  1. Institutional Learning Outcomes - How will the assignments and activities develop and assess the chosen ILO(s)? 

  2. Transferrable Skills / Relevance Beyond the Discipline - How can we make the course more relevant for students not majoring in the discipline? How can this course better encourage and support students' development of their own discipleship? 

Optional topics in this area might include course connections, world experiences, soft skills, and professional resources. 


We believe that BYU-Idaho's teachers and courses are some of the best in the country. The C3 Lab provides an opportunity for inspired faculty to step back and take a fresh look at modern student needs, current research, and high-impact practices.  It will build on the considerable successes already present in any course as well as in other courses on campus.  The process will be collaborative, creative, invigorating, and effective.  All who participate will walk away with a new awareness, with new skills, new ideas, and new tools that they can begin to implement in their own courses immediately or use to guide their teaching team through revisions of their own.

This content is provided to you freely by BYU-I Books.

Access it online or download it at https://books.byui.edu/thec3handbook/what_is_the_c3_lab.