You’ve Got it Backwards: Understanding By Design


  • Examine the pros and cons of Understanding by Design (UbD)
  • Identify which classroom goals and skills are required versus which skills are desired
  • Understand the meaning of “authentic” tasks and assessments


Though there are many criticisms and labels given to UbD or Understanding by Design templates and course structures, the overwhelming research shows that when teachers plan using this method, they are ensuring the curriculum, content, and assessment are aligned with specific student outcomes and transferable skillsAnd in addition to its clear cut path to successful teaching strategies, the UbD framework ensures that students will be able to effectively reveal his or her understanding.  UbD allows for students and teachers to focus on complex tasks, authentic opportunities to learn and explain, interpret, apply, shift perspective, empathize, and self-assess.  Educators in this course will examine the pros and cons of Understanding by Design and determine whether this framework and its provided templates can work in the classroom. Each educator in this course will focus on understanding how backwards planning can improve his or her teaching.


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