I would definitely recommend basing the class off of a project. The best way to learn is to actually do something (or teach it yourself). If all you do is read a textbook or listen to a teacher, then you will forget that stuff shortly. But applying the knowledge will help you to understand it better and retain it longer.
I would also recommend providing the blend files at the beginning of each step. For example, if you break up your class into 10 steps, then provide a blend file at the beginning of each step. This way, if a person wasn’t able to complete the prior step before you go onto the next step, they will having something to work off of.
Finally, you mentioned working on a character a few times, and I thought that I would remind you that not all people are artistic. Some people are mechanical (left-brain) and some are artistic (right-brain). In other words, some people can draw, model in clay, paint, etc., but others can’t do that to save their lives. I can model almost anything mechanically, but ask me to create a character and it would probably look like an unrecognizable blob. So if you create a curriculum that is almost all artistic, then you will lose your rational thinkers (and vice versa). Just try to keep that in mind as you create your curriculum.