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Teaching Effectiveness - Course Design & Planning for Instruction

Course design and planning for instruction are critical components to the instructor's effectiveness as it is through design and planning that the instructor lays the foundation for student learning (Simonson et al., 2020). It is important to know that while course design and planning does include an overall organizational structure and an emphasis on the student experience, the true focus of course design is the alignment between course learning outcomes and course components such as assessments, activities, and learning materials.   

As an instructor, this is the standard in which you will demonstrate how you have conceptualized and operationalized your student learning outcomes (SLOs) including the design of assignments, learning activities and other assessments. This standard also helps you to exemplify the connection of your course to the overall program or major as well as the overall mission and strategic plan of the institution. 

  • Course materials: Course materials may include elements like the syllabus, readings, supplemental materials, assignment prompts, learning activities and assessments, and the Blackboard course site.  It could also include planning documents such a course map that outlines the outcomes, assessments, and activities. These materials should demonstrate alignment withthe course learning outcomes and should be appropriate for the student level and learning task (Simonson et al., 2020). 
  • Student feedback: In addition to the SITE questions identified below, you might also consider administering your own student surveys to collect feedback on the overall course design. For instance, do students find your Blackboard course site easy to navigate? Do they find the courseload to be manageable? Review the Additional Resources below for templates and language you might consider utilizing to collect mid—semester student feedback. 
  • Teaching philosophy statement: This statement should identify the methods and strategies that underly your teaching, how you operationalize them, and why.   
  • Course proposals: Course proposals generally require an analysis of student learning outcomes, high level assessments that correspond, as well as how the course works in the greater scheme of its program.   

The below questions are found on our SITE evaluations at WKU and would align well with your narrative regarding teaching effectiveness in course design.   

  • #2 My Instructor is organized and well-prepared for class.  
  • #3 Expectations for course assignments and clear and specific. 
  • #4 Assignments/exams are aligned with course learning objectives. 
  • #7 Overall, my instructor is effective. 

Use these questions to help bolster your arguments regarding the efficacy of your teaching and learning methods and strategies.   

Some other questions you may consider including in your narrative in support of the evidence you provide, may include the following:  

  • Course/program alignment: How does this course align with the program curriculum or other courses within the major? How does this course align with other intentionally sequenced activities or requirements? How does this course realize or fit in with the WKU mission and strategic plan? 
  • Course materials: Why did you select the course materials you did? What influenced your textbook or reading selections? How do the assessments and activities reflect the appropriate level of challenge for this student population? 
  • Student feedback: How have you incorporated students’ feedback into your course design and planning? Have you made changes based on comments or performance? Where can you demonstrate evidence in response to or in support of students’ responses in SITE questions 2, 3, 4, and 7. How can you tie these responses back to your course design? 
  • Departmental/college norms: Does my department and/or college have specific requirements or norms regarding course design?   

Some resources that may be useful in documenting teaching effectiveness through course design include: 


Simonson, S. R., Earl, B, & Frary, M. (2022). Establishing a framework for assessing teaching effectiveness. College Teaching, 70(2), 164-180.doi: 10.1080/87567555.2021.1909528 


Some of the links on this page may require additional software to view.

 Last Modified 5/23/24