Online Course Design Modules

The online course design modules are designed to facilitate a deeper understanding of the backwards design process and promote effective practices in course design. The course is modular, competency-based, and self-paced. Participants will learn basic concepts in online course design in order to create their own course design and develop a course shell in Moodle. Completion of all competencies in the course will result in successful completion of the course. Time devoted will vary. Please note that having a course in mind that you intend to design (or re-design) is highly recommended.



  • You must be enrolled as an instructor or student in Moodle (already) to self-enroll in this course.
  • Instructors participating in the Online Teaching Best Practices  (OLTBP) course do not  need to complete these modules, since they are already included in the OLTBP course.
  • Upon completion of all three modules, you will receive a badge indicating you are proficient in online course design.
  • You have 120 days from the date of enrollment to complete the course.

If you have any questions, please contact Cari Mathwig Ramseier at

Course Objective

Participants will be able to design and develop an online course using the backwards design approach.

Competency (OLCD-1): Writing learning outcomes.

Supporting Learning Outcomes:

  1. Analyze competencies/objectives/outcomes. Participants will analyze learning objectives and outcomes and determine what cognitive domain to which they belong.
  2. Write measurable learning outcomes. Participants will write their own learning outcomes for their courses in a format that provides a description (verb), condition (criteria), and a measurable outcome.
Competency (OLCD-2): Design online course activities.

Supporting Learning Outcomes:

  1. Understand and learn how online tools can be used to produce deliverables. Participants will learn how different online tools and interactions can accomplish various types of outcomes.
  2. Design engaging online activities. Using the instructional design template, participants will plan learning experiences, applying their knowledge of how those activities can be implemented using the tools available in an online learning environment.
  3. Organize/scaffold activities. For learning experiences that require multiple steps and/or levels of learning, participants will complete further backwards design to scaffold the activities.
Competency (OLCD-3): Online course development (Moodle).

Supporting Learning Outcomes:

  1. Visual design. Participants will be able to design online course activities that attend to workflow, minimize scroll and the number of clicks, and are visually effective and efficient.
  2. Online development. Participants able to design and develop online course activities that contain the following elements: Organized Content, Communication, and Assessment.