Course Outcomes Practice

This quality practice outlines how outcomes are added and used within BYU-Idaho online courses. The requirements and best practices listed below ensure that students worldwide benefit from these resources, regardless of situational constraints (location, internet access, etc.).


For more information about creating outcomes, refer to the Canvas Screensteps article.


Program Outcome

Competency determined and maintained at the department/program level and measured at the course or assessment level. The outcome is measured by one or more assessments.

Course Outcome

Competency determined, maintained, and measured at the course level. The outcome is measured by one or more assessments.


A measure of student achievement that is primarily focused on achievement as opposed to participation. It can also be focused on a specific course outcome, but doing so is not necessary.

Key Assessment

An assessment that is a particularly effective measure of achievement on one or more course or program outcomes.

Shared Assessment

An assessment that is the same across modalities and sections of a course.

Technical Operations: Outcome Setup

Outcomes are stored at the university level of Canvas in a group under their college and department folders. This allows for easy access and change of outcomes as needed.

  1. Navigate to the BYU-Idaho account in Canvas.
  2. Select "Outcomes" in the left navigation panel.
  3. Locate the appropriate College and Department folders to store the outcome.
  4. Click "+Group" if you need to create a new folder for the course. Title this folder the course code.

After making the course folder under the BYU-Idaho account, create another folder to contain "Version 01" of the course outcomes. If a version already exists, create a folder for the new version.

Under the description of the version, type the following:

"Outcomes used from Brightspace reference course during transition for online version of {Course Code}

{Link to Brightspace course}"

After pressing save, press "+Outcome" to add outcomes to this version.

Once you've clicked "+Outcome", a new outcome will appear, ready to be filled out.

Course outcomes should be named "Course Outcome ##".

  • Example: Course Outcome 01

The Friendly name, if desired, should be "CO {outcome #}.{Version ##}".

  • Example: CO 1.01

The description for each outcome should be the outcome in its entirety. This may be the same as the outcome in the title.

  • Example: Students will inspire interest in and appreciation for biology and basic chemistry.

Note: If the outcome is formatted as a command and not a "students will be able to..." statement, add "Students will" to the beginning of the statement. Also add a period at the end of the outcome when necessary if it is clear that the outcome is there in its entirety.

The criterion for the outcome should be set like the image above: 

  • Distinguished (1 point)
  • Distinguished (0.9 points)
  • Proficient (0.8 points)
  • Developing (0.7 points)
  • Unsatisfactory (0 points)

The rubric should total one point

Mastery should be at 0.7, and the calculation method should be Decaying Average (Last Item: 25).

When the outcome has been set appropriately, press save.

Curriculum Designers: Outcome Usage in a Course

Outcomes must be imported via the BYU-Idaho database to keep all outcomes connected to the original. Any subsequent changes made to the outcomes inside the database will automatically update inside courses with these outcomes imported. 

For more information about how to import outcomes into a course, refer to the Canvas Screensteps article.

When attaching outcomes to an assessment, the outcomes must be attached to the question banks to prevent the outcomes adding extra points to the grade item.

For more information about adding outcomes to a question bank, refer to the Canvas Screensteps article.

When adding outcomes to discussion boards and assignments, there are specific settings to look out for to prevent extra points being added to the gradebook.

For assignments, scroll to the bottom of the assignment and select "+Rubric".

Select "Find Outcome".

Select the outcome you want, uncheck the box that reads "Use this criterion for scoring", and press "Import".

A popup will appear asking for confirmation of import. Select "OK".

Delete the extra rubric automatically created by Canvas. At this point, you can add an additional rubric needed for the assignment. The rubric created by adding the outcome should be titled the name of the assignment.

To add an outcome to a discussion, click the three dots beside the discussion board title and select "Add Rubric", then follow the same steps as above.

Note: If a rubric already exists on the assignment where the outcome is needed, just add the outcome to the bottom of the rubric.

Enable the Learning Mastery Gradebook by turning it on in the settings of the course.

For more information about the Learning Mastery Gradebook, refer to the Canvas Screensteps article.

Online Instructors: Outcome Usage in a Course

Assignments that are connected to outcomes should be assessed using the outcome.

For more information about using the Learning Mastery Gradebook to track progress, refer to these Canvas Screensteps articles:

Technical Operations: Outcome Maintenance

To ensure that all changes made to a course's outcomes sync to the master course and all items associated, changes should be made to the outcomes within the BYU-Idaho account.

For more information about editing outcomes in a course, refer to the Canvas Screensteps article.

You are done. Great job!


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