Initial Questions for Planning Your Course

Good courses are often designed from the end to the beginning, that is, using a backwards design model. This model has been produced by McTighe & Wiggins in their work Understanding by Design (UbD, 2012), and as you begin to build your course, and define your clear, measurable learning objectives, these initial questions will help you structure and populate your course with appropriate activities, assignments, and assessments.

Initial Questions

  1. What big, essential questions will your course help students answer? Or what abilities (or qualities) will it help students develop?
    • Identify a major (“big”) question that your discipline and course might help to answer. Use this resource to help guide you.
    • Identify small, yet still significant, sub-questions from your discipline, the answers to which will help answer the larger question.
  2. What should students be able to do, know, think, or believe by the time they finish your course?
    • Using the Understanding by Design model, begin at the end, or use backwards design, to plan your course.