Best Practices FAQ: Objectives and Competencies

I’m in the process of planning a new course, but I’m not really sure where to begin. Do you have anything that might assist me in getting started with the objectives and the content of the course?

Absolutely! We have a simple, easy to use tool called the Course Planning Worksheet. It will assist you in planning and aligning the scope and sequence of your course, the objectives, the content (readings/media/resources), how students engage with the content, and how students will be assessed. Visit our Files and Forms page and click on the link for the worksheet.

What resources would you recommend for writing effective course objectives?

If you are not yet familiar with Bloom’s Taxonomy or Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy, we recommend you investigate the following resources for identifying actionable and meaningful objectives and assessments in your course. As a general rule of thumb, we should aim for objectives that will support or scaffold real-world experiences for students or build skills and knowledge that will advance students toward these real-world experiences.

Using Bloom’s Taxonomy to Compose Learning Objectives. Bloom’s Taxonomy divides the way people learn into three domains. One of these is the cognitive domain, which emphasizes intellectual outcomes. This domain is further divided into categories or levels. The key words used and the type of questions asked may aid in the establishment and encouragement of critical thinking, especially in the higher levels.

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy
Guide to Writing Learning Objectives


UM3D Presents at OLC Accelerate 2017

Orlando, Florida

November 15-17, 2017

Theme: Accelerating Online Learning Worldwide

OLC Accelerate is an international conference devoted to driving quality online learning, advancing best practice guidance and accelerating innovation in learning for academic leaders, educators, administrators, online learning professionals and organizations around the world. The conference hosts outstanding keynote speakers, expanded programs, and engaging workshops. Attendees are given an opportunity to interact with experts in new and emerging eLearning technologies and topics, reinforcing why online educators worldwide affirm that OLC Accelerate is the premiere conference for online learning professionals. Our team presented the following presentations:

Are Your Students Ready To Learn Online? Strategies For Facilitating Online Learning Readiness At Your Institution

This workshop shares best practices and tools for developing an online readiness assessment tool. Facilitators from the University of Memphis will share strategies for curating resources and will discuss assessments that may be used to determine how to best prepare students to learn online. Participants will take the role of instructional designer to analyze and develop an assessment module.

Reaching All Learners Through Universal Design For Learning (UDL)

In this session, we will discuss how our campus has implemented professional development solutions to: (a) distribute knowledge about instructional accessibility, (b) increase faculty engagement in discussions about Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and (c) facilitate online course design congruent with the UDL principles of engagement, representation, and expression.

Online Student Success Initiative (OSSI): Increasing Student Success And Engagement Through Embedded Online Services

In this session, we will discuss how the University of Memphis has has addressed the enhancement of student course success, program retention, and timely graduation rates through our Online Student Success Initiative (OSSI). Results will also be discussed including faculty and student evaluations and the impact of OSSI on student success.

Mapping The Online Student Experience: Strategies For Managing The Online Student Lifecycle From Lead Generation To Graduation

This workshop shares best practices and tools for developing a comprehensive support plan for fully online students. Facilitators will share strategies for supporting prospective and current online students. Participants will receive tips for managing online student success from lead generation to graduation.

Enhancing Online Program Quality Assurance

Participants will identify an action plan to enhance the quality assurance (QA) of their own institutional online programs via a SWOT analysis rubric. In the process, they will acquire the skill of adapting to their own campus a three-phase online program lifecycle, centered on program selection, implementation, and evaluation.


UM3D Ignite Session “Blended Learning: The Basics”

Join the UM3d: Instructional Impact team, today at 12:00pm in the University Center’s Fountain View Suite (UC 350), as we discuss strategies for implementing eCourseware and online tools in the face-to-face classroom environment.



For listings of current and future UM3D: Instructional Impact sessions, visit

D2L Intelligent Agents Tool

The Desire2Learn (eCourseware) Intelligent Agents tool allows instructors to set up automatic notifications to be sent to themselves, advisors, and learners when specified course performance criteria are met. It can be used to both recognize student achievement (e.g., a high score on a quiz) and warn of potential problems (e.g., lack of online course access or poor performance on an assessment).

A brief video explaining the topics listed can be found here.

For access to step by step instructions created for users interested in the eCourseware Intelligent Agents Tool, click here.