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Course design

At the UW, it’s likely that you will teach in a variety of contexts. You might teach large classes or small classes. Perhaps you have an interest in teaching a hybrid or online course. Good teaching is the result of equal parts preparation and responsiveness. The links below will help guide you in your preparation, offering tips and strategies for how to design your course and write your syllabus, as well as a range of other useful information to help you get started.

Getting started on your course

An effective course design begins with understanding your students; deciding what you want them to learn; determining how you will measure student learning; and planning activities, assignments and materials that support student learning. The syllabus provides the instructor and students with a common reference point that sets the stage for learning throughout the course. Although courses may vary in size, subject matter or level, a systematic process will help you plan and structure your course and syllabus to effectively reach desired instructional goals.
Learn more about getting started on your course.

Creating your syllabus

The syllabus provides the instructor and students with a common reference point that sets the stage for learning throughout the course. The form and content of a syllabus vary widely; however, common components communicate to your students an accurate description of the course including the topics that will be covered; assignments and assessments students will be responsible for as well as a clear source for policies and expectations.

Learn more about creating your syllabus.

Flipped, hybrid, and online classes

Digital technology empowers instructors to expand the classroom beyond the four walls of the physical classroom. Learn how to design and teach flipped, hybrid, and online courses in ways that help you and your students realize your learning goals.

Learn more about flipped, hybrid, and online classes.

Large enrollment courses

Large classes (100+ students) should not be limited exclusively to lecture-based teaching. In a large class, participation can be designed to get students actively solving problems, interacting with one another and the instructor, and processing course material. We provide best practices and tips for preparing, teaching, and evaluating large lecture courses.

Learn more about large enrollment courses.

Developing community agreements

Community agreements are statements that guide how members of a classroom community aspire to work and interact with each other. Community agreements can help instructors foster an inclusive learning environment.

Learn more about developing community agreements.

Creating a culture of academic integrity

While no strategy is guaranteed to eliminate cheating completely, there are a number of ways to discourage and prevent cheating. This page includes steps you can take to promote academic integrity as you design your course.

Learn more about creating a culture of academic integrity.


The strategies on this page can help instructors think about how to communicate with students, set expectations, and develop assignments that increase students’ motivation to develop their own skills and ideas.

Learn more about AI+Teaching.

Assessment, rubrics, and grading

Assessment gives instructors insight into what students are learning, but is often associated with prescriptive testing regimes and a heavy-handed culture of accountability. From constructing tests to critiquing student projects, this page offers strategies for effective, equitable, and efficient assessment and grading.

Learn more about assessment, rubrics, and grading

Teaching during campus disruptions

This page offers proactive steps to prepare for how to teach when normal operations are disrupted on campus, including developing communication plans, designing with flexibility in mind, and using technology effectively.

Learn more about preparing your course for campus disruptions.