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.
Resources accompanying this video podcast:
- Course Description
- Course design organizer
- Course design template
- Alignment Activities & Assessment with LOs
- Portfolio Part 2
- Rubrics for portfolio
Course Design @ York
Course Design @ York is a series of workshops for course directors who would like to enhance an existing course, or create a new course design. The sessions provide you with through, creative and practical advice for developing your course. There are currently 5 workshops in the Course Design @ York course:
- Course Design Boot Camp
- Principles and Practices (of Course Design)
- Activities, Assessment, & Evaluation
- Inclusive Curriculum Design
- Supporting Student’s Academic Literacies
These courses are offered several times per year. We can also offer specially scheduled or tailored workshops for groups of 6 or more.
The workshops are supported by a Moodle site containing resources and opportunities for interaction beyond the workshop.
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
Once you watched the video, you may wish to use any of these resources to help with the drafting of your outcomes:
- HEQCO Learning Outcomes Assessment Resource Room
- Brief on Writing Learning Outcomes from McMaster University
- A handout detailing Bloom’s Taxonomy.
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.
Here is a resource on Institutional Approaches to Curriculum Design.