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Saint Paul College A Community & Technical College

Course Design Basics


Congratulations, you’ve got a new class to teach! Now what?

A helpful way to approach course design is to start with the end in mind – sometimes called Backwards Course Design.

The end means the knowledge, skills, or abilities students will have mastered by the conclusion of the course. These are called course learning outcomes and are assigned by Saint Paul College. The rest is up to you to plan – how can you best use your time with them to help them reach their goals? How can you make sure all course components align with the goals?

We recommend breaking the course up into smaller chunks that are easier to manage. AEI also offers a course mapping template inspired by Quality Matters and Culturally Responsive Teaching techniques.


Designing courses with the end in mind...

  • prioritizes course learning outcomes over ‘nice to know’
  • helps you stay organized and on track during the course
  • allows for more formative feedback along the way
  • is easier to adjust on the fly or make changes between semesters
  1. Find the official course learning outcomes on the Course Outline
  2. Devise assessments for each outcome (one assessment can cover multiple outcomes)
  3. Download the Course Mapping Template and break up the course into smaller chunks – called modules – that can be a week, a chapter, or a set of related topics
  4. Now that you have clear goals, what do they need to help them get there?
    1. Add activities that are engaging, interactive, culturally responsive, and give formative feedback
    2. Choose materials that are current, relevant, and culturally responsive
    3. Choose t​ech tools aside from the basics like Zoom, D2L Brightspace, and Kaltura MediaSpace

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