Plan Your Course with Backwards Design
The Hub team is here to help you every step of the way as you plan the design and delivery of your course(s). Whether you are teaching a face-to-face course, blended course, HyFlex course or online course, we are available to support you.
Thinking About Your Course
When planning your course, the Hub team recommends using backwards design.
However, for more detailed support in planning specific course formats, ex: HyFlex, please contact the Hub team as we can provide more specific and personalized recommendations based on your needs.
Getting Started with Course Planning
You can follow these general steps to plan your course:
Step 1: Identify relevant Vocational Learning Outcomes (VLOs)
- The VLOs are the heart of a program – they identify everything a student should know or be able to do by the time they graduate.
- Select which VLOs (aka program standards, program learning outcomes, accreditation standards) will be assessed in your course.
- You can find your Vocational Learning Outcomes on the Ministry of Colleges and University site or you can access them through the Program Map link in myCambrian.
- All programs at Cambrian College are mapped to the VLOs every five years, unless other circumstances warrant mapping to occur off-cycle.
- The course you are teaching may already have a Dynamic Course Outline (DCO) which indicates the aligned VLOs. Locate the DCO via the Faculty Tab in myCambrian, or email your Chair or Dean to request the DCO.
Step 2: Compose Course Learning Outcomes
- A learning outcome is a measurable high-level goal that reflects what the learner will be able to demonstrate as a result of participating in the course.
- Identify what students should know or be able to do by the end of your course in order to meet the VLOs
- Draft the course learning outcome using the following structure:
- Verb that indicates level of performance (refer to Bloom’s taxonomy)
- Learning statement (the “what”)
- Criteria for demonstrating knowledge/skill (the “how” or “why”)
Step 3: Determine Assessments
- Determine what assessments are needed to assess each of the identified course learning outcomes and what percentage of the course should be allocated to each assessment.
- Ensure you have transparent grading criteria for each graded assessment that is shared with students at the same time you share the assignment outline.
- You will need to know specific assessment details and weights in order to create your eGRADES template and lock it.
- Complete your eGRADES template in myCambrian and lock it. Share with the Chair/Dean, as requested.
Step 4: Determine Objectives
- A learning objective is a measurable lesson-specific goal that reflects what the learner will be able to do to achieve the higher-level learning outcome. Often there may be several lower-level learning objectives that support one higher-level learning outcome.
- When drafting objectives, think about the assessments you’ve determined to assess students’ understanding of the course learning outcomes and think, “What do students need to learn in order to be successful on the assessment of this outcome?” The objectives should answer that question.
Step 5: Complete Your Syllabus
Using the syllabus tool, which can be found under the Faculty Tab in myCambrian, start planning out your weekly lesson topics, resources and assessment schedule.
Bloom’s Domains of Learning
Named after Dr. Benjamin Bloom (1913-1999), American educational psychologist, Bloom’s Domains of Learning are often used when designing educational and learning outcomes and objectives.
These three domains include:
- Cognitive: thinking and knowledge
- Affective: feelings, emotions and attitudes
- Psychomotor: physical movement and skills
Within each of the three domains, they are further divided into lower order categories and higher order categories:
- Lower order categories represent more simple and concrete learning goals. They are often used as introductory activities. Often for the learner, these activities may only stick in their short-term memory, which represents less engagement and lower levels of learning.
- Higher order categories represent more complex and abstract learning goals. For the learner, these activities will often be more meaningful and memorable and translate into the long-term memory. This represents higher engagement and understanding.
As educators, we want our students to remember the concepts they are learning in class and hold onto that knowledge in their long-term memory. By designing learning outcomes and objectives that sequentially bring students from lower-order to more higher-order categories, students are more likely to retain knowledge in a more meaningful way.
The slides below contain definitions and example verbs that you could use to design your learning outcomes and objectives according to Bloom’s Domains of Learning.
Planning Your First Day of Class
You can use this document below to help plan your first day: