Design Review Checklist

When to review your design

Review your online course design at several points to ensure that it is achieving the desired outcomes. The Design Review Checklist on this page is a basic reviewing tool, but we advise you to carry out additional student testing of your site before you make it available to all your students.

Some key stages when you should review your course design are:

  1. After you have completed your basic online course design. Go through the checklist to ensure that your course includes the key design features.
  2. Periodically during site development. Sometimes teachers add so much content to the site that they lose site of how crowded the site is, and how hard for newcomers to navigate and interpret.
  3. Pre-release student testing. Use the checklist to help you devise some key tasks for students to perform. Have them test your site and give you feedback before you make the site available to the whole class.
  4. Whenever you make major changes to your site. You may make changes during semester or before subsequent semesters based on student feedback and other evaluations. Refer back to the key design features and ensure your site is still optimally designed for student learning.

Collect evidence

Collecting evidence during the course as to your site's effectiveness will help you to improve the course in the future. Here are some questions you might ask yourself:

  • Assessment—How well were the students able to complete the assessment tasks and achieve the planned learning outcomes?
  • Support—Were the students able to find solutions to their issues, and to help others? Check any help forums and course blogs and journals.
  • Participation—At the end of the course you can use the tools you used to check student participation during the course for a summary report on student progress and participation.
  • Feedback—Use a forum or survey to ask students for feedback on the course as a whole, or on specific activities you tried out. How did they experience of the course/activity? If you use a discussion forum, allow anonymous posts so that students can be frank in their posts without having to identify themselves. Focus groups can be a useful way to explore in detail any emerging issues.
  • The CATEI surveys, while not specifically addressing online course elements, can include some questions of your own about how students experienced your Moodle course.

Design review checklist

When your basic online course design is completed, and periodically during its lifetime, ask yourself the following questions. If you are uncertain about any of the answers, the links below the questions will take you to helpful pages relating to online course design.

Getting students started

  • Are your students prepared for online learning?
  • Is it clear where students should start and where they can find the course components?
  • Is it clear how the online site relates to any face-to-face components of the course?
  • Are the staff contact details included and easy to find?
  • Will students know what to expect from you online (e.g. how regularly you will be online in the course, the turnaround time for answers to questions)?

For more information see:

Organisation of the site

  • Are all the online components well organised and easy to navigate?
  • Are all links working properly?
  • Is it clear what each of the communication tools is to be used for?

For more information see:

Learning design

  • Have you provided an explicit professional / disciplinary context for the course?
  • Is it clear how the learning activities and assessments relate to the course learning outcomes?
  • Is there some flexibility in course materials, activities and assessment to accommodate different learning needs?
  • Are students given enough opportunity for interaction and practice?
  • Is regular feedback to students built into the course plan?
  • Are students given enough opportunities to develop graduate capabilities?
  • Have accessibility issues been addressed?

For more information see:


  • Do the assessment tasks assess achievement of all learning outcomes?
  • Are assessments varied and appropriate to the discipline?
  • Are assessment criteria clear for all assessment tasks?
  • Are preparatory learning activities planned so that timely feedback can be provided?

For more information see:


Do you have a plan for regularly reviewing the course design and collecting evidence to evaluate the course outcomes?

For more information, see Evaluating curriculum.