Answered By: Victoria Peters
Last Updated: Nov 29, 2022     Views: 5

When integrating OER into your course, you have the opportunity to critically evaluate your methods and alter them to better meet your needs. One way to go about this is to use backward design for your project.

Backward design is a framework for planning your course around its intended outcomes.[1] There are three stages to the backward design process:

  1. Identify desired results,
  2. Determine acceptable evidence, and
  3. Plan learning experiences and instruction.[2]

You might notice that this approach does not end with “create and/or curate educational content.” Instead, it ends with more planning. The purpose of backward design is not to be done with your course transformation in a quick 3-step process. Instead, it asks instructors to question the processes and materials they currently use and to start over by plotting out what is needed to meet your course outcomes.


  • What do I want my students to learn?
  • How will I communicate to students that the concepts I present are valuable?
  • How will I assess my students’ understanding of core concepts? (See our Assessing Course Outcomes chapter for help)

Thinking critically about the purpose of your course and the learning outcomes you want your students to meet is one way to ensure that you provide an excellent learning experience for your students.

  1. AvenuesdotOrg. "Grant Wiggins - Understanding by Design, Part 1.Youtube video, 10:51. February 28, 2013.
  2. Wiggins, Grant and McTighe, Jay. Understanding by Design. Alexandria: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2005.