Focused course design

By the Focused design stage, you should have obtained approval of your business case from your College and, if required, the University's Fee Setting and Programme Development Committee. You can now work on the academic structure of your programme or module.

You should now have a good broad overview of your programme, which you can begin to unpack into a deliverable course. Here you ensure that the curriculum is shaped so that the teaching methods and assessment tasks align with the intended learning outcomes (ILOs).

You will need to consider the following issues when designing your programme:

  • Will there be core module that cover the main learning outcomes, or will specialism be encouraged through a range of optional activities?
  • Will each coherent topic or activity form a separate module?
  • Will there be a dissertation, a large project or an element of fieldwork?
  • How will academic literacies and transferable skills be embedded?

"Try writing your assessment at the same time as you are devising your learning outcomes - then design the course."

"Be realistic when setting the amount of time each learning activity will take. Many students have lives which are unlikely to be focused around the course you are designing."

Dr Matthew Higgins, Senior Lecturer School of Management

Your assessment strategy for the programme should link directly to the ILOs for the programme and individual modules. Students should be given a range of assessments to assess different outcomes, and the assessments should ideally encourage progression of a range of skills through the programme.

You also need to identify resourcing issues, such as whether staff training is required or whether there is a large initial cost outlay, for example would you expect to provide a tablet device for all students. It is advisable to check that you have fully resourced the course, that the underpinning administrative and support models are effective, the chosen models for delivery are appropriate for your demographic/market and you have described a high-quality student experience.

What do I need to do now?

  • Develop the academic structure of your programme or module
  • This will give you the information necessary to complete programme and module specifications and section C of the Programme Approval form, as described in the Approval section

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