Center for Educational Innovation

Academic Affairs and Provost

Integrated Aligned Course Design


What is Integrated Aligned Course Design?

Integrated Aligned Course Design is a “fully criterion-referenced system, where the objectives [learning outcomes] define what we should be teaching, how we should be teaching it, and how we could know how well students have learned it” (Biggs and Tang, 1999, 2007). Teachers’ responsibilities include aligning – joining, linking, scaffolding – learning and teaching activities to the outcomes and structuring assessments appropriate to the level of learning expected. Students’ responsibilities include constructing meaning from course assignments and instruction by engaging themselves in mindful processes of learning, and displaying the efforts of that learning in varieties of assessments.


At its core, this approach to course design or redesign includes the four elements displayed in the diagram below.



This tutorial divides the process of course design into these distinct parts.

  • Introduction & Noting the Environmental Factors (Environment)
  • Establishing Student Learning Outcomes (Curriculum)
  • Assessing Student Learning Outcomes (Assessment)
  • Class Session Planning for Enhanced Learning and Effective Teaching (Instruction)
  • Reviewing Your Course Design (a return to Environment with new information)



Biggs, John and Tang, Catherine. Teaching for Quality Learning at University (3rd ed). Buckingham: Society for Research into Higher Education and Open University Press, 2007. (First edition: 1999.)

Fink, L. Dee. Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, 2003.

University of Connecticut Universal Design for Instruction in Postsecondary Education. “The Nine Principles of UDI.”

Wlodkowski, Raymond. J. & Ginsberg, Margery. B. Diversity and Motivation: Culturally Responsive Teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1995.

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