Course Design and Planning


A successful course depends on the planning that precedes it. The articles and links in this section serve as planning guides for both faculty and GSIs. They provide instructions for developing a new or existing course and for creating a syllabus.

Course Design Tutorial 
This site provides a step-by-step approach to course planning starting with the development of goals for student learning and  moving on to teaching strategies, assessment of student learning, and the syllabus. Many of the examples are drawn from the geosciences, but the principles are relevant to all disciplines.

Backward Design (Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching)
An overview of Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe's influential book Understanding by Design and links to resources that assist instructors in applying the book's principles in their course planning.  (The full book is available electronically through the U-M library system to authenticated users.)

Planning Your Course: A Decision Guide (BYU Center for Teaching and Learning)
This site offers a brief overview of course design process that begins with identifying significant learning experiences and then basing activities and assignments on helping students gain those experiences. 

The Value of Learning Objectives 
This white paper from Carnegie Mellon's Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence offers a research basis for the importance of specifying learning objectives.


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