Using Backwards Design: A Practical Guide to Creating Assignments

Developed by Sakina Laksimi-Morrow

This workshop walks participants through the principals of backwards design and how they can be used as a framework for developing any assignment across disciplines. This easy step by step breakdown of using backwards design is accompanied by additional resources for assignment design and the option for scheduling individual and small group synchronous check in to exchange feedback and answer questions. 

Learning Goals:

  • Learn about Backwards design principles and why they are effective.
  • Use backwards design to create an assignment.


Using backwards design means first defining the learning goals that you want students to meet, and articulating expectations of prior knowledge before scaffolding an assignment that engages and supports those developing that knowledge and skills. Backwards design can be applied to assignments of any size from short classroom activities to semester-long projects—and across disciplines. 

This workshop will offer information, resources and guidance for instructors who want to apply backwards design to an assignment. Attendees will have opportunities to receive feedback on and support for the development of the assignment throughout the summer in the form of individual and small group check-ins, using zoom or asynchronous feedback via email.  


  1. Participants are asked to review the videos on assignment design on the commons website.
  2. After going through the video modules, please download the Backward design template and use it as a flexible guide to develop your own assignment.
  3. Workshop participants can then check in synchronously through a drop in hour on Friday June 20th from 12-2pm for a zoom drop in to get feedback on assignment design or email me to receive text feedback.


  1. A clear draft of an assignment for the fall using backwards design
  2. Knowledge and experience with assignment design.