Planning a Course

In Idea-Based Learning, Edmund Hansen describes an implementation of a course planning technique known as "backwards design." This method differs from the traditional method of course design, which often follows these stages:

  1. Create or adapt course content
  2. Plan assignments and test
  3. Determine grading procedures
  4. Translate course content into instructor objectives

Note that the learning objectives for the course are established at the last stage. Often, the list of objectives does little more than state that students will learn the main themes described in the first stage.

To address these problems, backwards design begins with the objectives for the course, and lets them structure the course:

  1. Identify desired results
  2. Determine acceptable evidence
  3. Plan main learning experiences
  4. Sequence course content around activities