The OCTBR (pronounced “October”) tool is a Creative Commons-licensed rubric developed originally and specifically for health science instructors, to provide perspectives and resources for building online courses, assessments and experiences.

OCTBR has been influenced by student survey feedback, and excellent Creative Commons-licensed rubrics and tools, namely CSU-Chico’s QOLT (Quality Online Learning and Teaching) instrument, and Joan Van Duzer’s Instructional Design Tips for Online Learning, and reflects on peer-reviewed learning and assessment strategies specific to health science education.

Some institutional design rubrics are primarily used as an evaluation and/or scoring tool for courses. Other rubrics are excellent for introducing philosophical ideas about instructional design to a neophyte instructor. Both practices are not as well suited for faculty who must design a course and assessments while also juggling 12 hour shifts, Grand Rounds, surgeries, assessing students or residents in clinic, etc.

Overall, the intent for OCTBR is not to be prescriptive, but offer concrete strategies for integrating best overall practices in online courses, and successful assessment and learning design in the health sciences. We are next working on an adaptation of OCTBR for general higher education, as well as translations into other languages.

The full OCTBR tool is available here. We highly recommend that individual (rather than program-level) users use a checklist based on how much time they have available.  The different checklists are named to match the time available to build a course or courses launching in the Fall semester (“October”).

If a faculty member has an extremely short amount of time to design a course, they would use the Autumn checklist to consider possibilities for their course.  If at least a month is available, rather than weeks, the Summer checklist is appropriate. The Spring checklist is for those who have at least three months to build a course, while the Winter checklist is for a course designed almost a year in advance, or several courses developed by a department team.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

The OCTBR (Online Course Teaching and Building Rubric) tool and child checklists were created and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License from its first creation, in 2015, at the University of Texas. The rubric was originally written and designed by Patience Wieland as a response to David del Pino Kloques’ written analysis of multiple years of medical and allied health student surveys. Wieland and del Pino Kloques have trained dozens of medical and allied health personnel how to develop online courses, using the OCTBR design. We highly encourage program-level users to work with existing instructional design staff, and analyze the feedback already available from students, as del Pino Kloques first did, to find out what your learners already think of your “online presence” and courses.

You may use with attribution and can share any subsequent, forked version with other users under the same license, and as long as attribution to the original authors remains. To view a copy of this license, visit  or send a letter to Creative Commons, PO Box 1866, Mountain View, CA 94042, USA.