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Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT)

Online & Hybrid Course Design

Learning online is well-established in higher education, from fully online degrees to student choice of online or hybrid sections of courses. The maturity of this learning modality means that faculty embarking on a course design (or redesign) project have proven course design approaches, research-based best practices, and on-the-ground practical experience to draw from. Here you will find a curated selection of resources to get you thinking about how you might approach your design effort.

For on-the-ground practical experience from your colleagues, view posts from our Faculty Shared Practices contributors.

If you would like assistance with your project – whatever stage it is in – please schedule a consultation with the Instructional Designer.

Backward Design

Backward Design is a course design approach that starts with identifying the desired results (what you want learners to know and be able to do), proceeds to identifying evidence of that learning (how you will know what they have learned), and ends with the design of the learning experience (the activities, instruction, content, and technology that support learners achieving the desired results).  This approach offers a very helpful way to organize your course design project and will result in a learning experience that is well aligned with your goals for learners.

Wiggins G, McTighe J. Understanding By Design [e-book]. Alexandria, VA: Assoc. for Supervision and Curriculum Development; 2005. Access via the WCSU Libraries (requires WCSU login).

Fink, L.D., (2005, August). A Self-Directed Guide to Designing Courses for Significant Learning (PDF).

Online Course Design Best Practices

The OSCQR Course Design Review Scorecard is a very useful tool for faculty to self-evaluate existing online courses and to use as a checklist for new course design.  The recommendations for effective online course design are organized into 6 categories (Course Overview and Information, Course Technology and Tools, Design and Layout, Content and Activities, Interaction and Assessment & Feedback). Download the scorecard at Open Suny OSCQR, OSCQR  or at the Online Learning Consortium (free, but requires sign up).