Tier-Based Course Design

When it comes to course design, it can feel like there are too many boxes to check in too little time. Where do you start and what are the most important things to add before the semester begins?

The WSU Online Instructional Design team has created a tier-based guide that may help make course design easier.

Start with a quick introduction to backward design. This will be the basis for every tier. Then work your way through each level depending on what you'd like to focus on and how much time you have for your design.

Each tier in the process outlines pedagogical suggestions and builds on the previous one so you can keep improving your courses with a few elements at a time.

And remember, teaching, learning, and course design are complex. Use pieces from each tier, tweak, implement, and revise and talk to an instructional designer if you'd like to brainstorm ideas.

The Basics

Technical Knowledge and Skills

  • Focuses on the primary items that are used in effective courses
  • Helps you refine your technical skills so you can build your course in the learning management system (Canvas)
  • Gives you knowledge about how to utilize Weber-supported tools to build your courses after they are designed
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Design Tier 1

Laying a Foundation

  • Starting point for designing or redesigning a course
  • Guides you to create some basic course elements
  • Helps you organize your content
  • Makes sure students can navigate your course
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Design Tier 2

Aligning the Pieces

  • Focuses on creating and aligning course goals (outcomes), learning objectives, assessments, and learning activities using Backwards Design principles
  • Introduces various tools for different learning activities
  • Increases the technical quality and accessibility of your course
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Design Tier 3

Finishing Touches

  • Focuses on creating holistic, authentic, and high impact educational experiences for students
  • Introduces more of the affective domain into the design of your course
  • Emphasizes the types of interactions that are happening in your course
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Complete Guide and Rubric documents: