Getting Started

Good course design requires considerable planning. Here are a few topics that OTL can help with as you get started. The full list of resources can be found on the Faculty Resource Website. 

Designing A Course

Course design is more than dividing the number of topics across the number of class sessions. It is about re-thinking how we approach our job of teaching in the first place. Instead of starting with the materials – an old syllabus, textbooks, cases – and figuring out what to teach from there, we encourage you to start with the goal – what you want students to be able to do at the end of the semester – and work backward to create lessons and content that support your goals. This is called backward design.

Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes are key to designing and communicating the contents of your course. All Smith courses should include 3-6 clear and measurable learning outcomes on the syllabus. They will help guide your content, teaching methods, and assessment techniques.


Your syllabus serves as a contract outlining what you expect from students and what students expect from you. You must upload your course syllabus to the “syllabus” section of Canvas and publish the course two weeks before the start of the semester.

Get Started

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