Course Design

At the University of Calgary, course design and instructional design are closely related fields that involve using research-informed theory and practice to foster meaningul learning experiences.

Course design

Course design is a reflective process to design a new course or redesign an existing course by:

  • Developing learning outcomes that are clearly stated and measurable;
  • Planning teaching and learning activities; and
  • Planning assessments that will indicate how well learning outcomes have been met.

Course design supports student learning by informing students of the learning goals, by providing students with opportunities to practice and receive feedback on their learning, and allowing students to demonstrate their understanding (Ambrose et al., 2010).

The course design process is beneficial for first-time instructors, for experienced instructors designing a new course, or for redesigning an existing course, and applies to courses taught face-to-face, online or in a blended environment.

Course design includes:

  • Learning activities
  • Online learning
  • Effective student assessments

  • Understanding your students

  • Flipping your classroom

  • Fostering student discussion

  • Selecting and organizing course content

  • Creating and using rubrics for student assessment

To support course design at the University of Calgary:

Course Design Program

This three-day, hands-on program will give you the skills you need to design or modify your course with students in mind. Start with an analysis of your students, then discuss a variety of methods to design your course incorporating teaching, learning, and assessment techniques that meet their needs. Through small group work, discussions, and online activities, you will develop practical solutions to address your concerns and strategies to take advantage of opportunities in your specific course. Leave with an overall plan and then modify or create a syllabus as a post-workshop assignment.

Using classroom and online instruction, the course design program provides opportunities for participants to work on their course design at an individual pace. Participants are expected to participate in both classroom and online activities during this workshop.

See the TI workshop and activities calendar for dates: 


Course design consultations are a great way to discuss ideas and approaches to your course design, reflect on your current teaching practices, and have support while you implement new strategies. Consultations can be individual or for groups and can be once, twice, or ongoing to support your course design process. Find inspiration in your course design, and come design with us.

For more information on course design, contact

Patrick Kelly
Manager, Learning and Instructional Design


Ambrose, S., Bridges, M., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. and Norman, M. (2010). How learning works: 7 research-based principles for smart teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass