Why Backward Design?
This section will discuss why we suggest using the principles of Backward Design when designing your courses.
Backward Design and Students
Backward Design is student-centered design. It is focused on student learning and understanding by guiding the instructor through intentional assessment and assignment design. The emphasis is placed on ensuring that students have the necessary resources to be successful in achieving learning outcomes.
Furthermore, backward design enables an open teaching environment in which students know the purpose of the work they are doing (Wiggins and McTighe 2011). When students are aware of how an assignment, lesson, or task relates to a desired learning outcome they are more likely to be engaged with the material and successfully achieve the outcome.
Backward Design and OER
Since the OER Initiative asks you to re-design your course with different texts, it is the perfect opportunity to utilize Backward Design strategies.
According to Wiggins and McTighe, “a teacher’s job is not to simply mention everything in a book or on a topic; our job is to prioritize, make interesting and useful, and ‘uncover’ the content, not merely ‘cover’ it. The textbook should serve as a resource, not the syllabus, in a focused and effective learning plan.” By following these steps of design, it will help ensure that the OER materials you included in your course are chosen with the intention of providing students the tools for successfully achieving course goals. When the course is designed using Backward Design before searching for OER materials, it can also make the search process easier by narrowing down the search parameters.