In an article that appeared in the Chronicle this summer, Mark Sample writes about using backward design to plan a class about science fiction. He recommends using Understanding by Design by Wiggins & McTighe – a book that I read this summer and am attempting to use to design our new GC1Y course: "Chemistry and Climate". I’ve found the book has many templates that provide useful structure for the course-design process.
As an aside, I recently learned the appropriate grammar from some lovely friends in education. It is backward design NOT backwards design. Just thought I’d pass that little nugget on.