Welcome to the February issue of Teaching Matters! This month’s theme centres on course and programme design.
Curricula do not fall on to the page fully formed, but are built around a series of choices made by educators. – Jester, 2018, p.606.
Arguably, designing and delivering considered, pedagogically-informed courses and programmes, which lead to successful student outcomes, is at the core of our university learning and teaching efforts. Effective design helps us teach in a sustainable way, which is not just left to chance. Designing a course or programme is not just about “covering content”, but about addressing such pedagogic concerns as:
- offering appropriate feedback opportunities
- aligning assessments with learning outcomes
- embedding employability development opportunities
- ensuring the effective use of digital education
- promoting accessibility and inclusivity across the curriculum.
Furthermore, the design process should asks questions of us about what knowledge, and ways of knowing, are valued in a particular curriculum. What materials and resources should be included on the reading lists? As Jester’s quote highlights, curricula are social constructs, designed by people with differing values, backgrounds, political beliefs and experiences. Who, then, should be ‘invited’ to be the designers? Is it just academic staff, or should we be inviting professional bodies, employers, alumni, and current students to co-design courses and programmes?
Contributions this month explore some of the on-going work across the University, which showcase how different staff members and students are engaging with course and programme design. For example, how and what is taught in the first class of a course can shape expectations for the remaining weeks, as Dr Steve Kirkwood explores in his post about using board games in a course designed for new Postgraduate Research students. In another post, Andrés Ordorica from Educational Design and Engagement in IS, explains the role of the Learning Designer in course design. And in her post, Nichola Kett, from Academic Services, showcases the updated documentation for course and programme approval.
Mini-series: Social responsibility and sustainability in learning and teaching practices
This month we continue with the mini-series: Social responsibility and sustainability in learning and teaching practices, co-edited by Sarah Ford-Hutchinson, Communications Manager, and Megan McGrath, Communications Coordinator, from the Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability. Our first Teaching Matters podcast will be available at the end of the mini-series so keep a look out for its release!