Loyola University Chicago

Faculty Center for Ignatian Pedagogy

Classroom Strategies


Introduction to the Course Design & Course Facilitation Guide

There is a national conversation in popular higher education news sources like Faculty Focus and Inside Higher Education and in scholarly research about effective teaching practices. In particular, this national conversation shines a spotlight on effective teaching practices and student learning in online and blended environments. Scholars are examining effective practices for designing and facilitating meaningful, well-structured courses.  

Many instructors begin the course planning process by identifying textbooks for students to read, putting together lecture notes, or selecting activities. This results in a content-centered approach to course design and teaching.  Current scholarship recommends a more learning-centered approach that positions students at the center of the learning process.  Integrated Course Design, a well-known instructional design model, guides instructors through the process of adopting a learning-centered approach. The planning process begins first with considering who the students are and the context within which the learning will occur. With an awareness of who the students are and their unique needs in mind, instructors identify what they want their students to learn, what evidence they will gather to determine if learning has occurred, and what activities and content will be used to support the learning. This guide provides recommendations on how to implement a learning-centered approach.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction to the Course Design & Facilitation Guide
  2. Student Readiness for Online Learning
  3. Instructor Readiness for Online Teaching
  4. Meeting the Needs of A Diverse Student Audience
  5. Course Mapping: Backward Design
  6. Establishing Learning Outcomes
  7. Determining Acceptable Evidence
  8. Giving Students Feedback
  9. Selecting and Designing Activities
  10. Building Community
  11. Putting Together A Syllabus
  12. Evaluating A Course

The information contained in this guide is from multiple scholarly and popular sources and   conveys some special considerations for online and blended teaching, though the effective practices discussed are applicable to all teaching modalities. Reviewing this information will encourage instructors to think broadly about what it means to design effective educational experiences. 


  • Fink, L. D. (2013). Creating significant learning experiences: An integrated approach to designing college courses. John Wiley & Sons.