While many lecturers will be involved in designing and developing entire programmes, many more will find themselves responsible for individual modules. As always, taking a holistic approach to design, keeping your end point in sight, will help you to avoid getting lost in the detail.
Below is a staged process you might use to work systematically through each element of module design, adapted from the ABC approach to learning design, developed at University College London. This approach draws on the idea of constructive alignment to ensure that intended learning outcomes, assessment and teaching and learning activities are all aligned and working to the same end.
Students can be powerful contributors to the design of your curriculum. The diagram below illustrates four stages of student engagement: Consultation, Involvement, Participation and Partnership.
Each stage of engagement involves increasing time and planning on your part, and greater levels of involvement from students, with consultation being relatively undemanding. Cultivating, maintaining and making good use of partnerships can be complex and time-consuming, but the effort can be worth making. Seeing programmes from a student perspective is a key part of taking a programme level approach and developing meaningful partnerships between departments and students is a vital part of this.
‘Student engagement’ can have many meanings – delivering engaging learning, teaching and assessment activities, providing opportunities for subject-based research and inquiry and involvement in the scholarship of learning and teaching (SoTL), and involving students directly in curriculum design and pedagogic consultancy (Healey, Flint & Harrington 2014).
Curriculum Design - The Essentials. The University of Sheffield, ELEVATE, Learning and Teaching Essentials.
Healey, M., Flint, A. & Harrington, K. (2014). Engagement through partnership: students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education. York: HEA. Retrieved from https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/engagement-through-partnership-students-partners-learning-and-teaching-higher
Stefani, L. (2008), ‘Planning teaching and learning’, in Heather Fry, Steve Ketteridge, and Stephanie Marshall (eds.), A handbook for teaching and learning in higher education, London, New York: Routledge: 40-57.