Curriculum Design in Dual/Online Delivery

Video #

The Resources mentioned in the video can be found below.

Creating Learning Outcomes #

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Learning Outcomes are also referred to as “learning objectives” or “learning goals” in the pedagogy literature. Regardless of the delivery mode of your course, start by creating 8-12 overarching learning outcomes for the course. Ask yourself this: what are the things that I want students to be able to do by the end of this course?… Important! this is not the same as asking “what are the things I want students to know by the end of this course?”

Learning outcomes should be actionable and measurable. In other words, students should be able to perform certain actions that demonstrate their knowledge of the subject matter. In addition, you should be able assess students’ mastery of the skills and knowledge acquired in this course based on the set learning outcomes.

Here’s a list of sample learning outcomes for an Introductory Linguistics course:

Students who have successfully completed this course will be able to:

    • demonstrate a fundamental understanding of the nature, methods and theories of linguistic inquiry
    • parse and analyze English and other languages by making use of their emerging knowledge in phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and the classification of languages

Each learning outcome should begin with verbs similar to those found in the List of Bloom’s Taxonomy Action Verbs (Texas A&M Center for Teaching Excellence under a Create Commons License). Bloom’s Taxonomy (Bloom 1956) was originally developed to categorize the levels of reasoning skills required in classroom situations, and has since been widely used as a basis for instructional design. As you move gradually from the “knowledge” column on the left towards the “evaluation column to the right, the verbs reflect a more in-depth understanding of the subject matter and more complex manipulation of the acquired concepts.

Curriculum Mapping #

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Once you have created a list of course learning outcomes, use them as a starting point to create a curriculum map. Download this Course Structure Template and start by copying and pasting your learning outcomes onto the first column. Each learning outcome should correspond roughly to a topic. For each topic, create a more fine-grained list of subtopic learning outcomes. For example, if you were to someone to swim breaststroke (topic learning outcome), you would want to break this down into more fine-grained steps: 1) how to move the arms, 2) how to move the legs, 3) how to breathe, 4) how to coordinate arm and leg movements, etc.

Review this template regularly. 1) Identify any mismatches or gaps between your learning outcomes, learning activities and assessments. 2) Think about whether your learning activities and assessments are optimal for the set learning outcomes. If not, how might you adjust these items?

Designing Learning Activities #

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When designing learning activities, think about how you can help students achieve the set learning outcomes, and how you can make the best use of available media and technology to deliver your course content. Just might also consider fine-tuning your learning outcomes to make them more suitable to the course delivering method (i.e. in-person vs. online vs. dual). Here is a non-exhaustive list of content delivery modes and some of their best-fitted learning activities.

    1. Live Lectures (delivered in-person and/or remotely)
      • defining and explaining concepts
      • illustrating ideas behind concepts by way of examples
      • explaining how key concepts are related to one another
      • contextualizing the subject matter by relating them to students’ life experience
      • open discussions in which students either seek further clarifications or challenge ideas
    2. Slides
      • defining technical terms
      • listing items
      • illustrating spatial relationships between items
    3. Videos
      • demonstrating step-by-step procedures
      • explaining structural organization between items
      • discussing the relevance of the subject matter
    4. Breakout group discussions
      • gaining in-depth knowledge about the subject matter
      • solving problems by applying key concepts
      • developing leadership and collaborative skills
      • promoting active learning: get students to learn by doing
    5. Reading and other internet resources
      • studying independently to deepen knowledge in the subject matter

Apply the +1 principle in Universal Design for Learning (UDL)! For whatever learning activity you create, think about 1 more way in which students can engage with the same course content. This concept will also come in handy when you are designing learning activities for a dual-delivery course.

The table below (Samuel et al. 2019: identifies the learning environment benefits in face-to-face vs. online delivery mode. It is a great reference in planning and implementing your learning activities.



  • Establishing social presence and support
  • Non-verbal communication (affect and body language is observable)
  • Explaining assignments (access to instructor)
  • Negotiating expectations and responsibilities
  • Diagnosing students conceptual problems and providing immediate feedback
  • Brainstorming
  • Roleplay
  • Student demonstration of psychomotor skills
  • Sustaining group cohesion, collaboration, and support
  • Reflective, on-task discourse
  • Broader participation in discussions
  • More time to think before responding
  • Critical analysis
  • Flexibility
  • Self-paced learning and practice
  • Self-assessment quizzes with immediate feedback
  • Near real-time, automatic grading of multiple-choice, T/F, fill-in-the-blank tests

Designing Assessments #

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When designing assessments, think about how you would get students to demonstrate the skills or knowledge outlined in your learning outcomes. It is also a good idea to list the learning outcomes at the top of assignments and discussion worksheets to help students make the connection between what they need to do and what they need to learn.

This additional document on Bloom’s Taxonomy of Measurable Verbs (Copyright 2021 Toronto School of Theology) can help you conceptualize your assessment tasks by incorporating verbs that demonstrate critical thinking. Verbs on p. 1 are listed from left to right in increasing complexity. In general, the more complex the task (further right on the chart), the more difficult it is for students to plagiarize, however, the more complex these tasks would be for the graders to grade as well. As such, it is a good idea to strike a balance between the two. Nonetheless, with some creative thinking, it is possible to create multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blanks and true/false questions that recruit higher-level critical thinking!

Use the list of sample question stems of p. 3 of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Measurable Verbs (Copyright 2021 Toronto School of Theology) to help you frame your questions. In addition, p. 8 of the document provides a list of words and phrases to avoid when creating assessments.

For essay-type assignments and discussions, consider creating a rubric. Not only will it effectively communicate your expectations to students, it helps improve consistency and transparency in the evaluation process as well as the workflow in grading these assignments/discussions. In addition, in keeping with the +1 principle in UDL and instructional design for online and dual-delivery, think about different modes in which students engage in essay-type assignments and discussion. In additional the written format, you might want to provide students with the flexibility of submitting their work as video/audio recordings.