Top-Down Course Project Planning: Specific Learning Objectives

Tying objectives to modules, topics, activities and discussions…after the fact…represents “Bottom-up” course design.

What you  need to implement to save time and increase success measures is “Top-down” course design. Such a strategy would…

  • Ensure that students’ learning experiences relate to Specific Objectives
  • Ensure that all Specific Objectives receive priority and focus during the semester
  • Require you to connect learning activities to objectives before assignments could be published
  • Require you to assess individual students’ progress towards mastery of each objective
  • Flag for attention and prompt teaching and learning changes in your course delivery when student performance lags

Top-down planning matches professional project management “Best Practices.” Think of each course as a “Project.”

Top-down planning also separates Specific Learning Objectives from grades…and requires “Evidence-Based” performance standards.

Build every course from a Specific Learning Objectives framework, and filter every lecture, assignment and activity to ensure a direct connection to course SLOs.