Course Redesign Resources

Many educators are reinventing courses in response to student demand, technological advances, economic pressures, and widespread availability of open content. The links on this page lead to useful information, resources, and examples for faculty who are moving to blended or online courses or who want to make their in-person courses more effective and engaging. If you know of an online site or resource that should be listed here, tell us about it.

Blended learning

Book cover of Blended Learning in Higher Education by Garrison & VaughanBlended Learning in Higher Education: Framework, Principles, and Guidelines

D. Randy Garrison & Norman D. Vaughn

The authors describe a "community of inquiry" framework, emphasizing the need for teaching presence, cognitive presence, and social presence in blended classes. The book provides useful guidelines and examples from small courses, large courses, and project-based courses in several disciplines, including political science, philosophy, nursing, communications & writing, and chemistry.

Logo: Blended Learning ToolkitBlended Learning Toolkit

University of Central Florida

Developed through a Next Generation Learning grant, this site offers an overview of blended learning as well as some design and delivery principles for faculty and student success strategies.

Logo: University of New South WalesPlanning and Designing a Blended or Online Course

University of New South Wales

The site includes a variety of information, worksheets, and templates useful for incorporating online activities into blended courses.

Logo of itslearning, inc.Individual Teaching: The Six Models of Blended Learning

itslearning, inc.

Michael B. Horn has identified six types of blended learning: face-to-face driver, rotation, flex, online lab, self-blend, online driver.

Logo: Clayton Christensen InstituteA similar analysis from the Clayton Christensen Institute describes the rotation model, flex model, a la carte model, and enriched virtual model of blended learning in more detail.

Cover of International Journal of Mobile and Blended LearningInternational Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning

IGI Global

Journal articles discuss theoretical, technical, and pedagogical issues.

Course design & redesign

Logo: National Center for Academic TransformationNational Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT)

The site includes a large number of resources including introductory readings on course redesign, a good list of course redesign planning resources, and a description of the replacement model, in which some in-class time is replaced with online learning activities. The replacement approach is the focus of NAU's President's Technology Initiative. You can also view examples and case studies from a number of disciplines and the six models of course redesign.

Logo: Dee Fink & AssociatesA Self-Directed Guide to Designing Courses for Significant Learning (.pdf)

Dee Fink

Topics in the guide include situational factors, learning goals, feedback & assessment, teaching/learning activities, integration, course structure, instructional strategy, and more.

Book cover of Understanding By DesignUnderstanding by Design

Grant Wiggins, Jay McTighe

The term backward design (also known as alignment) refers to a course design model in which a course designer first identifies what students are expected to learn in a course and then identifies how to assess whether the intended learning has occurred. Only after nailing down those two aspects of the course does a designer turn attention to what kind of learning activities the course should include. The first chapter of this book explains "Why ‘backward’ is best." The book emphasizes planning and includes research-based templates and strategies along with examples from many different subject areas.

See NAU's related 3-part tutorial on backward design.

A three-dimensional model that superimposes knowledge domains on Bloom's revised taxonomy.A Model of Learning Objectives

Rex Heer

This model shows the relationships among knowledge dimensions (factual, conceptual, procedural, metacognitive) and the revised version of Bloom's Taxonomy (remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, create).

Book cover of Classroom Assessment TechniquesClassroom Assessment Techniques

Thomas A. Angelo, Patricia Cross

Although the assessments in this book were originally designed for in-class use, many can be adapted easily for online and blended use. Two animated videos describe The Muddiest Point and the One-Sentence Summary assessments.

Tutorials on Backward Design

NAU's e-Learning Center

Screenshot of table showing

This three-part series begins with defining learning expectations, then moves to deciding on how you'll assess whether the expectations have been met, and finally focuses on devising learning activities that match the expectations and assessments.

Logo: University of Wisconsin MilwaukeeTen Questions to Consider When Redesigning a Course for Hybrid Teaching and Learning

Learning Technology Center, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

These questions are a good starting point when thinking about how to redesign a course.

Flipped classroom

Diagram showing a circle divided into quarters labeled What, So What, Now What, and ExperienceThe Flipped Classroom on Scoop.It

Jackie Gerstein

Drawing from higher ed and K-12, this curated collection of videos, presentations, ebooks, and other materials is a rich source of examples of flipped classrooms. On her blog, User Generated Education, Gerstein describes the Flipped Classroom Model, which emphasizes experiential engagement, concept exploration, demonstration & application, and making meaning of learning.

Chronicle of Higher Education Twitter logoHow ‘Flipping’ the Classroom Can Improve the Traditional Lecture

Dan Berrett

The article describes examples of flipped classrooms in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) disciplines and also points out some of the potential drawbacks of flipping.

Daily Riff logoThe Flipped Class: Myths vs. Reality

Jon Bergmann, Jerry Overmyer, Brett Wilie, Dan Spencer, Deb Wolf, Aaron Sams, Brian Bennett, Jason Kern, April Gudenrath, Philip McIntosh

This three-part series describes what the flipped classroom is and is not, poses questions about instructors' readiness to teach a flipped class, and describes what good flipped classes look like.

Open content

OpenCourseWare Consortium logoOpenCourseWare Consortium

This site is a good place to start when searching for freely available university-level digital materials for use in blended courses.

Internet Archive logoInternet Archive

Essentially an online library "of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form," this site provides free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public.

Screen shot of cover of A Basic Guide to Open Educational Resources (OER)A Basic Guide to Open Educational Resources (OER) (.pdf)

Neil Butcher

The appendices include a catalog of sources of open content.


Quality of courses

Screen shot of Quality Matters rubricQuality Matters Rubric (.pdf)

Quality Matters Program

This one-page checklist is handy for making sure you've included some basic informational and structural elements in your courses.

Screen shot of cover page of Blackboard Exemplary Course Quality RubricBlackboard Exemplary Course Quality Rubric (.pdf)

Each year Blackboard hosts an exemplary course program to recognize innovation and best practices. The rubric used for evaluating courses focuses on four areas:

  • Course design
  • Interaction & collaboration
  • Assessment
  • Learner support

You can take "tours" of the winning courses.

Teaching & learning

Book cover of How Learning WorksHow Learning Works

Susan Ambrose, Michael W. Bridges, Michele DiPietro, Marsha C. Lovett, Marie K. Norman

While not specifically about blended learning, the book describes seven general principles of learning, including the effects of prior knowledge, knowledge organization, motivation, mastery, practice & feedback, student development & course climate, and self-direction.

Images of text saying Applying the 7 PrinciplesApplying the Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education

Joseph R. Codde

This teaching checklist was adapted from Arthur W. Chickering's and Zelda F. Gamson's book, Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. (Note: These are not the same seven principles described in How Learning Works, above.)

George Self has created a similar site, Introduction to the Seven Principles, updated to include information on how to use technology to apply the principles.

See also the TLT Group's "Seven Principles" Collection of Ideas for Teaching and Learning with Technology.

Book cover of How People LearnHow People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School

John Bransford

Topics include the differences between novices and experts; learning transfer; design of learning environments; examples of effective teaching in history, math, and science; and technology to support learning.


Learn Now, Lecture Later Report CoverLearn Now, Lecture Later (.pdf)

A report from CDW-G describes survey results from high school and higher ed students, faculty, and IT professionals. Students were asked how they currently learn and how they want to learn. They want more technology and more hands-on projects in their classes. In higher ed, they also want more recorded lectures.

Note: NAU's e-Learning Center advises against lengthy recorded lectures. Instead, create very short audio or video recordings (6-8 minutes or less, and less is better) about individual topics. In video recordings, show or demonstrate to students what you're talking about. Don't be just a talking head.

Screen shot of front page of the research reportPeer Instruction: Ten Years of Experience and Results

Catherine H. Crouch, Eric Mazur

One technique that can work well for in-class activities in blended courses is peer instruction. This research report states that student scores "improved dramatically" and "...with significant effort invested to motivate students, student reactions to [peer instruction] are generally positive, though there are always some students resistant to being taught in a nontraditional manner."

Logo: EDUCAUSE Learning InitiativeEDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI)


ELI is a community of higher education institutions and organizations committed to the advancement of learning through the innovative application of technology.