Evaluating Course Design

Analyzing your course prior to teaching to improve quality and inclusivity.

On this page:

The importance of course design

The success of a course is largely a combination of course design, teaching and student factors. Evaluating your course before you teach, and ensuring it is constructed effectively, can help reduce problems before they occur and reduce complexity in troubleshooting during teaching. There are several areas a course can be evaluated and improved before teaching:

If you want to know more about these topics and how to incorporate them into your course, see the above links or previous sections on design and build. On this page, we will offer several evaluation rubrics to review your overall course design. However, we will primarily focus on SUNY OSCQR (SUNY Online Course Quality Review Rubric). Additionally, we will review the Ally feature in UB Learns, an automated tool to improve accessibility. 

Course evaluation rubrics

The following rubrics organize courses into several essential areas such as design, activities and accessibility. Additionally, they offer criteria for evaluating these in your course as well as ideas for improvement.

The Blackboard Exemplary Course Rubric

This rubric assesses:

  • Course Design: Learning outcomes, course structure, content organization and instructional strategies.
  • Interaction and Collaboration: Communication between learners and instructors and how much students work together towards a shared goal.
  • Assessment: Measuring progress toward learning outcomes, feedback, grading and evaluation.
  • Learner Support: The support resources available to students.

Quality Course Teaching and Instructional Practice (QCTIP) Scorecard

The QCTIP Scorecard is designed to review the overall classroom experience, measuring areas such as learning foundations, faculty engagement, student engagement and course fundamentals.

The OSCQR

The SUNY Online Course Quality Review Rubric (OSCQR) is an openly licensed tool to assist instructors and instructional staff in reviewing courses for quality and effectiveness.  The OSCQR uses empirical research to identify pedagogical best practices, provide formative feedback and help support continuous improvements. It can be used both as a guide to enhance existing courses and to develop new ones.

Course review with OSCQR

  • Step 1: Access the OSCQR Rubric
    • Visit SUNY’s Get OSCQR webpage.
    • Select “Generate your OSCQR SUNY Online Interactive Rubric” or another preference.
    • Enter your email address and the title of your course, then press submit.
    • You will then receive an email with a link to the rubric (Google Sheets).
  • Step 2: Review your course with OSCQR
    • In the rubric, you will see different tabs. The first one is for you to enter information about your course.
    • The next three tabs are a copy of the actual rubric for you and your reviewers to rate elements of your course against each standard.
    • Evaluate your course based on each standard. Follow the links within the rubric for more information about the criteria or visit the OSCQR website at any time.
    • In each rubric, you will be able to enter an action plan next to each standard. These will automatically appear in the action plan tab. Or you can use this alternative action plan
    • Use your action plan to further improve your course.

Next steps

When you have completed your course design review, the next step is to determine data collection to evaluate the implementation of your course.