Backwards Design is a course or assignment design process where learning goals are set first, and all other aspects of a course or assignment follow. A learning objective is what students are expect to learn or to be able to do. When these are defined, the backwards design process creates a course best suited to achieve these goals.
Listen to Jennifer Gonzalez, from the Cult of Pedagogy talk more about Backwards Design.
To quote from UC-Davis Center for Learning: "By starting from a learning-centered approach, it is easier to prioritize these content-oriented learning outcomes into three groups: the critical, the important-but-not-critical, and the nice-to-know." This helps us to isolate what absolutely MUST be covered, taught, and experienced in our classes, and what we would like to be cover, taught, and experienced.
Asking yourself those hard questions, will help you focus in on the essential learning outcomes for you course, helping you streamline the content, the assignments, and the structure of your class.
We have created a series of Voice Thread presentations to guide you through the Backwards Design process for your course planning.