A course objective is what the student should be able to do upon completion of the course. A good objective will match the academic level of the course and will clearly state what is expected of the student.
There are six levels of thinking, according to Benjamin Bloom, who developed the concept of higher order thinking levels in 1956. Those levels (lowest to highest) are Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation. Each level of thinking should be considered when creating the learning objectives or outcomes of a course.
Start with the course itself. Is it a lower level course (freshman or sophmore)? Or is it a higher level course (junior or senior)? The level of thinking required in a lower level course would naturally be somewhat lower on the taxonomy than the thinking skills required for the higher level courses. Each level on the taxonomy comes with a set of verbs that describe the kind of thinking for that level.
You can find the Blooms Taxonomy pyramids at many links on the Internet, and I have included some for you in the resources section of this article. You will need to have one in front of you when you create the objectives for the course.
Once you have reviewed the course level and description, you will have a good idea of what the student will expect to get out of the course. Now it is time to define the outcomes. The general rule of thumb is 2-3 outcomes (also called objectives) per credit, so a three credit course will generally have 6 to 9 outcomes.
There is a Website called Radio James Objective Builder which is tied to Blooms Taxonomy. This Website will help you choose the correct verbs to use in the objective to convey the proper level of thinking the student should be doing to achieve the outcomes of the course. The link is in the Resources area below.
Using the Objectives Builder, choose the level of thinking you wish for the first objective. For example, if you choose the Analysis level (right in the middle of the pyramid) Radio James will give several verb choices, as well as sample objectives for that level. Choose one of the verbs to start the text editor in the box on the right and you will see that you can now add text to go with the verb you have started. For example, you can choose 'classify' and the text editor will say, "At the end of this lesson, you will be able to: * (Analysis Level) classify (now this is where you add your own text).
Looking back at the description of the course and the outline and then type in what the student will be able to classify at the end of the course. You will now have an objective that is appropriate to the course as well as at the appropriate thinking level for the content in the course.