Design Your Course

See the Crash Course page if you have just started and it is less than a week before your first class.
Your department contact can help you solve problems and point you in ways to move forward.

  • Review Official Course Description

    Before you begin to design your course and prepare the syllabus, review the UAA-approved official course description (sometimes called the course content guide, CCG). The description includes the student learning outcomes for the course and a suggested course outline. Your syllabus must include the official student learning outcomes. By following the official course description, you help UAA maintain curriculum standards and ensure that students meet the overall learning outcomes for their degree programs.

    If the description has not been updated recently, you will find it in the old CCG repository. Check for newer information in the CIM system. If you do not have access to CIM yet, contact the department for the course description.

    Additional information is available on the  UAA Curriculum page and in the UAA Catalog.

  • Get a Copy of the Textbook

    Check the UAA Bookstore to see any required materials already designated for your course. UAA is currently transitioning to an online bookstore. Please ask your department contact for more information.

    Open Educational Resources may be an option for your course. To  learn more, read about Textbook Affordability at UAA and consult the OER LIB Guide.

  • Craft Teaching Plan

    This is the real reason you have chosen to work for UAA--the teaching part! For course design, we recommend the Understanding by Design approach (backwards design).

    Using your official course description as a guide and in consultation with your department chair:

    1. Identify desired results from the official course description: Student Outcomes. “What should your students know, understand, and be able to do?” 
    2. Determine acceptable evidence: “How will you know if students have achieved the desired results and met the content standards? What will you accept as evidence?”
    3. Check the Class Schedule to confirm how your course is meeting. If your course says NA for Days, students will complete their work asynchronously. Distance courses with a day and time for class meeting should plan to meet through web conferencing during those times. See our Note on Distance Ed for more information.
    4. Plan learning experiences and instruction: “How will you make learning both engaging and effective, given the goals and needed evidence?”
      • Select instructional materials (readings and resources) that contribute to the learning outcomes. 
      • Plan learning activities that promote the achievement of learning outcomes and provide opportunities for interaction.
      • Prepare course delivery using active learning techniques to engage students. 


    Professional development and other support

    In addition to these UAA organizations listed, your college/campus is likely to have staff available to assist you.

  • Create Your Syllabus

    Make the syllabus available to students before or at the first class meeting (or post it online in Blackboard). Your department may have a syllabus template and/or the department may give you a syllabus from a recently taught class. If you have to start from scratch, use the official course description to get the learning outcomes. 

    Visit Create a Syllabus That Works for You and Your Students

  • Prepare your Blackboard Course Site

    Minimal list of Blackboard Learn tasks:

    1. Upload your syllabus to your Blackboard course
    2. Add a welcome announcement in Blackboard and check the box to email it to your students
    3. Add your contact information under Contact Instructor (create contact)
    4. Upload documents and resources (at least for the first few weeks) into Blackboard (note: students prefer to have documents and resources available in Blackboard)
    5. Make the Blackboard course available to students

    Need help with Blackboard? 

      1. AI&e Blackboard Support
      2. IT Services (907) 786-4646 or 877-633-3888, option 1 (technical help)
      3. Academic Innovations and eLearning (907) 786-4496 (teaching help)
      4. Blackboard On Demand Videos - short, to the point how-to videos
      5. Help links within your Blackboard shell
  • Visit Your Classroom

    If you are teaching on campus, it's a good idea to get a lay of the land before your class starts.

    1. In the UAOnline class schedule (Current Students, Class Schedule Search), confirm class dates/times and location/delivery method.
    2. Check with your department contact about the location of the room and whether it's locked or not.
    3. Find the nearest parking lot. Parking on the main campus during the day can be pretty hard to find. Plan to arrive early.
    4. Visit your classroom to determine emergency exits and verify the audiovisual/technology in the room.
    5. If you are teaching a class via video conferencing or web conferencing, check with your department administrative assistant about logistics. 
  • Digital Detours

    Digital Detours are proactive solutions for keeping online courses running when Blackboard Learn, Blackboard Collaborate, university email or the Internet are not functioning properly.  Though outages are usually short, it's best to plan for them to avoid disruption of online classes.