A course description serves to state the rationale for the course and give an overview of key content covered, skills and knowledge to be learned, and how it will benefit the student. It may include learning strategies and major activities, if it would be a significant factor in a student deciding whether to take the course or not. Course descriptions should be clear, concise, and written for a student audience, but are also accessed by parents, other universities for transfer credit evaluation, employers, and accrediting bodies.
Course Description Guidelines
A course description:
should be no longer than 125 words
should begin most sentences with a verb
should be student-centered and explain how the reader would benefit from the course
should be written in the present tense and active voice
should not begin with “This course…”
should not contain deliverables like “student will learn…” but instead use “students will have an opportunity to learn…”
should not include the names of software, technology, or texts that change term to term course descriptions should be able to carry over for multiple terms and not need frequent updating
should not incorporate prerequisites/prerequisites, intended delivery mode, equivalencies, fees, etc., but may contain if it is repeatable and how any times
should not include general education attributes as those will be entered elsewhere, as additional course details.
Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy (2001) uses verbs and gerunds in categories that describe the cognitive processes by which learners encounter and work with knowledge (P.Armstrong, Bloom’s Taxonomy).