A Legacy of W.K. Kellogg

Write an Aligned Course Plan

Alignment of Learning Objectives, Activities and Assessments[3]

"Alignment" means that learning objectives, teaching and learning activities, and assessment (graded) activities match up. Having clear learning objectives helps with alignment. Don't be surprised if you constantly question alignment and make adjustments to your plans.

Here's an example of an “aligned” objective, activities, and assessments:

  • Learning objective: Students identify previously learned foundational concepts in novel problems
  • Activity: Brief lecture to remind students of foundational concepts; discussion board thread where students explain the concepts to each other
  • Assessment: Students identify which concept or concepts are at work in 10 new problems

Here's an example of a non-aligned objective, activities, and assessments:

  • Learning objective: Critical thinking about concepts in the discipline
  • Activity: Watching video lecture
  • Assessment: Multiple choice test with questions that test factual memory

Getting Started with the Course Plan

We suggest organizing your course into modular units that students can complete in a reasonable amount of time. One to three weeks is a good guideline for the length of a module. Each module should contain a complete set of objectives, learning activities and resources, and assessments for a coherent "chunk" of the course content.

Here are elements to consider for writing a weekly course plan:

  • Weekly topics and learning objectives (Please refer to the previous section regarding writing clear and measurable Learning Objectives.)
  • Learning activities for each module
  • Resources, such as course documents
  • Assessment method
  • Tools and technologies or other materials needed

Here's a Course Plan Worksheet template that you can download and fill out.

This Course Plan is part of a larger Course Design Kit that has been adapted with permission from the Learning and Teahing Centre, British Columbia Institute of Technology.

Things to Remember When Writing the Course Plan

  • Make sure learning objectives, activities, and assessments in each module are aligned
  • Use the Learning Objective Builder to help you write learning objectives
  • Consider designing hands-on activities that get students away from their computer!
  • Apply Universal Design for Learning/Universal Design of Instruction practices