Curriculum Design Process

The outermost layer, in blue, details the whole of course curriculum design process:

Validate course learning outcomes

Ensure the overarching set of course learning outcomes comprise disciplinary-specific, generic, employment-related and life-long learning outcomes (as per Higher Education Standard 1.4.2 – refer back to Graduate Outcomes) and are “consistent with the Australian Qualifications Framework level and field of education of the qualification awarded, and informed by national and international comparators” (Higher Education Standard 1.4.1)

In light of these requirements, the following frames of reference can be utilised by Course Coordinators and teams to develop and validate CLOs for JCU courses:

Refer to Resources section below – Course and subject learning outcomes

Map alignment between learning outcomes and assessment

Map the relationship between learning outcomes and assessment, across the core component of the course, in order to determine breadth and depth of coverage of course learning outcomes, as well as the diversity of the assessment schedule.

Importantly, Higher Education Standard 1.4.3. highlights the need for alignment between learning outcomes and assessment:

  • Methods of assessment are consistent with the learning outcomes being assessed and are capable of confirming that all specified learning outcomes are achieved.

Mapping is undertaken in order to evidence meeting this requirement. The alignment between course and subject learning outcomes and assessment tasks, for the core subjects within a course, is primarily mapped. Note that the core component is undertaken by all students enrolled in a course. A whole of course mapping activity – undertaken within a mapping tool (i.e. a customised Excel spreadsheet or other software) – generates output data that allows course teams to review:

(1)  the breadth and depth of coverage of the CLOs:

  • Where are the gaps?
  • Possible redundancies?

(2)  the methods of assessment across the whole of course:

  • Is there over-reliance on particular types of assessment?
  • Underutilisation of other types? 
  • Should there be consideration of types currently not used, with a view to maximising student engagement and learning and professional relevance/authenticity?

(Re)design assessment tasks

Ensure that “methods of assessment are consistent with the learning outcomes being assessed and are capable of confirming that all specified learning outcomes are achieved” (Higher Education Standards 1.4.3).

Given that the Standards require development and assurance of disciplinary-specific, generic, employment-related and life-long learning outcomes, robust assessment profiles are called for, involving valid, authentic, inclusive, transparent and reliable assessment tasks.

Refer to Resources section below – Assessment design and review

Design authentic and blended learning activities

Teaching and learning experiences need to be aligned with learning outcomes. Adopt intentional, student-centred blended learning design, with a view to affording students rich opportunities to integrate theory with practice and apply knowledge and skills in authentic, diverse and technology-enabled settings. Higher Education Standard 3.1.3. states that:

  • Teaching and learning activities are arranged to foster progressive and coherent achievement of expected learning outcomes throughout each course of study.

Teach explicitly and make learning outcomes visible to students

Develop disciplinary-specific as well as generic and employment-related skills explicitly, allowing opportunities for students to reflect on skills development (e.g. students may compile an ePortfolio comprising reflections and artifacts to evidence achievement of outcomes or professional standards/ competencies).

Evaluate teaching and learning

Evaluate teaching and learning through review of evidence (e.g. student performance, student evaluation, Peer Review of Teaching, etc.) and make enhancements accordingly; ensure that regular external referencing occurs in relation to “the success of student cohorts against comparable courses of study, including the assessment methods and grading of students’ achievement of learning outcomes” (Higher Education Standard 5.3.4).