Course & Curriculum Design

Course design is a reasoned approach to developing a course that generally starts with defining tangible learning outcomes (LOs) for a given course. Once the LOs are identified, the next steps are to plan and closely align teaching and learning activities, determine what will count as acceptable evidence that learning has taken place, and design assessment tasks accordingly.

The process of curriculum development aims at identifying what faculty value for their students and how effectively the program enables students to achieve the knowledge and skills that faculty regard as highly valuable (Ward Griffin et al. 2013). In other words, curriculum development seeks to find out what knowledge, skills and other attributes we expect students to attain.  Degree-level learning outcomes are useful in articulating these expectations, which can then be mapped against the sequence of courses that make a program.

On this page you will find resources for:


Examples of Good Practice

Take a listen to this 12-minute video podcast in which Dr. Geneviève Maheux-Pelletier, an educational developer with the Teaching Commons, puts course design principles into practice in her Linguistics Applied to French course.

Course Design in Practice Web Tutorial

Resources accompanying this video podcast:

Support for Course Design

The Teaching Commons offers a variety of courses and workshops intended to support you as you plan and design your courses. Each of our sessions provide you with through, creative and practical advice for developing your course. Our courses and workshops are offered several times per year. We can also offer specially scheduled or tailored workshops for groups of 6 or more.

To see a list of our current offerings for FACULTY and CONTRACT FACULTY, please visit this link:

To see a list of our current offerings for GRADUATE STUDENTS, please visit this link:


Resources Internal to York

The Things that you can do when you design or update your course webpage contains a host of information on course design including delivery, materials, and the learning environment.

Curriculum Development & Research Skills from the York University Libraries provides information on why and how research skills can be integrated into your curriculum. Consider designing effective assignments and  information literacies.

Copyright Information sessions from the York University Copyright Support Office provide Q & A sessions to ALL faculty and administrative staff to help identify and manage copyright in the classroom, course website, and research. Bring your course outlines and academic materials for review as the Copyright Modernization Act and fair dealing is referenced.

You may also want to consider a visual syllabus to help clearly display the intended outcomes for your course. Sean Kheraj, a faculty member teaching History at York, shares their example of a visual syllabus for HIST2500.

External to York Resources

Writing Learning Outcomes

View Transcript for the Writing Learning Outcomes Video

Once you watched the video, you may wish to use any of these resources to help with the drafting of your outcomes:

Degree Level Expectations

As part of the Ontario’s Quality Assurance Framework, Degree Level Expectations (DLEs) determine the threshold skills and concepts students must attain to complete a program successfully. McMaster University has compiled a list of DLEs at Ontario Universities.

Curriculum Design

Here is a resource on Institutional Approaches to Curriculum  Design.