1.3 Course Purpose Statement

Consider including a course purpose statement in the syllabus; indicate how the course relates to previous or future courses; include the broad learning goals for the course and specific areas of focus.

Points: 3 (Essential)

QM Alignment: 1.2


Do you communicate the learning purpose of your course? ​

A course purpose statement might include information about some or all of the following:
  • Personal Goals
  • Life-long Learning Provided
  • Instructor Focus
  • Skill Set Provided
  • Knowledge Base Provided
  • AA or AS Degree
  • General Education Courses
  • Pre-requisites

Your course should also include the HCC Course Intended Outcomes​ (CIOs) to help convey the purpose and goals of the course (see standard 2.2). The CIOs:

  • Align course with state, federal, or professional expectations.​
  • Identify course curriculum.​
  • Establish key learning outcomes.​
  • Determine student achievement & skill set level.​
  • Determine student knowledge mastery level.​

Each course module should have an introduction and module learning objectives (MLOs) that explain the purpose of the activities and resources in that module (see standards 2.3 and 2.4). The MLOs:

  • Identify how specific concepts and activities and materials are aligned with the Course Intended Outcomes.
  • Specify the Lesson Learning Path.​
  • Describe the activities  that engage students on the path.
  • Describe the assessments that measure learning.


  • Include a purpose statement in the course syllabus and in your course orientation.
  • Indicate how the course relates to previous or future courses.
  • Include the broad learning goals for the course and specific areas of focus.

Common Issues

  • Cannot find a statement of the purpose of the course
    • Consider adding that information to the syllabus and/or the course home page or orientation module.


  • See also standard 4.5 and the Transparent Teaching site, which also includes a Transparent Assignment Template and Checklist.
    • The Transparent Teaching project conducted large-scale research studies that showed improvements in student learning, employer-valued skills, and academic self-confidence when the purpose of the course and assignments were made more clear. As laid out in the transparent assignment template, this also involves more clearly stating the knowledge, skills, and actions needed to succeed on activities and assignments. Finally, criteria for success should also be clearly spelled out, sometimes with the help of rubrics and/or exemplars of student work.

See also 1.10 Prerequisite Knowledge.


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