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Online instructors must possess a unique set of tools to teach sucessfully in the online environment. See Are you ready to teach online? for more information

Goals and Objectives

Identifying goals and objectives for your class will help you in designing and developing strategies to keep students motivated.


  • Are broad statements of instructional intent; they define the general purpose of the course
  • Are intangible, abstract, general intentions that can't be validated
  • Can be just one sentence long, or be the entire course catalog description
  • Specify the “Big Picture” - the general direction or purpose of the course; e.g. English 301 will prepare students to take English 01
  • Can help market a course by telling students why they should take your course  


  • Are the specific steps that lead to goal attainment 
  • Identify the skills, attitudes and knowledge that must be taught to satisfy the student’s needs and satisfy course goals  
  • Should be stated clearly and spelled out in detail  
  • Objectives make the curriculum visible by:  
  • Allowing students to know what’s expected of them  
  • Allowing the instructor to see whether the instruction is effective 
  • Providing guidelines for evaluation by providing specific desired outcomes which can be tested  

 Stressing the behavioral (quantifiable) changes expected, rather than the (qualitative; non-measurable) changes in attitude/insights addressed by the goals of the course or lesson
Adapted from North East Texas Consortium

Useful Resources:

@ONE offers free training in the area of online teaching to California Community College faculty.

Quality Matters is a faculty-centered, peer review process designed to certify the quality of online courses and online components.

Last Modified 11/10/10