Integrated Course Design

The most important feature of Integrated Course Design is that it’s integrated: teaching and learning activities, feedback, and assessment are aligned with desired learning outcomes (what students will know and know how to do after taking the course) and designed to account for situational factors (the teaching and learning context). No part of the course is isolated from any other. Rather, each part informs every other part.

Situational factors are key in Integrated Course Design. They may be basics like the number of students (or expected capacity), the course level (lower or upper-division), whether the course is integrated into a sequence of courses. Or they may be more complex, such as the life situations of your students (e.g., the percentage who are working, caring for family, or taking the course with other challenging labs or courses). In the midst of our current health crisis, it is also important to consider that your students may become ill and need to miss class sessions. One type of situational factor that is always present but not always acknowledged is values: your values, your students' values, and the values, conventions, worldview of your field. These factors will guide your decisions as you design your course.

Diagram chart of different learning types


Significant Learning is focused on curriculum development. It will help you move from a content-centered view of curriculum to a broad view of your students’ learning and their relationship to the subject matter. Significant Learning comprises different types of learning about a subject: foundational knowledge, application, integration, the human dimension, caring, and learning how to learn.


Backward Design is based on the simple idea that the first step should be identifying desired results: in this case, learning outcomes. The next step is to determine the kinds of evidence that show you that the outcomes have been met and methods for measuring learning (feedback and assessment). Finally, you design teaching and learning activities that will make significant learning happen.

3. Design Learning Experience

What will students do? How will they interact with you and one another, and how will they engage with the subject matter? What kinds of activities will help them learn?

2. Determine Acceptable Evidence

How will you (and your students) know that learning outcomes have ben met? How will you measure learning?

1. Identify Desired Results

What are the learning outcomes of your course? What will students know, understand and be able to do?

Want to know more?

You can self-enroll in Integrated Course Design for Remote Instruction — ACCESS HERE

Online Education and the Center for Innovations in Teaching and Learning have developed a course on designing and developing courses for remote and online instruction. The course blends pedagogical practices with practical tutorials for designing digital assignments and assessments, creating lecture videos, working more effectively in Canvas, and incorporating other instructional tools. Every element of the course is designed with the purpose of better enabling you to make the transition to remote or online instruction.

The course is in Canvas and can be taken independently and at your own pace. If you have any questions about the content, or would like to consult with an instructional designer, reach out to us via our Slack workspace or email