Academic & Student Affairs

Reviewing Curriculum Provision

Why is this important?

Curriculum review is a necessary and recurrent part of teaching and learning. It is informed by new knowledge and emerging research within a discipline, as well as evolving professional and market-place requirements.  The students’ experience data as revealed in the First Year Experience (FYE) and  Second Year Experience (SYE) surveys, the National Student Survey (NSS)] and student modular feedback, provide invaluable insights into areas of curriculum provision that require attention.

Summary:

This page highlights six different starting points for reviewing the curriculum and suggests diverse resources which can offer support for curriculum changes and enhancements.

Curriculum Review - suggested starting points

Use one or several of the following sets of questions to analyse and evaluation the current curriculum provision:

(A) Review degree pathways as whole programmes:

What are the key learning outcomes for the degree pathway? Consider knowledge, skills and dispositions.

What are the learning outcomes for each module? How do they map onto the degree learning outcomes ?

How does each module connect to the other modules in the programme?

What connecting points are there between modules? Are the modules progressive through the degree stages?

When could these connections be explicitly highlighted to students in module documentation and by staff?

What new opportunities could these connections bring to curriculum provision?

Would the introduction of a compulsory introductory module be beneficial?

What challenges does this starting point bring for communication, planning and timetabling within a School?

(B) Review degree pathways and modules for progression

Are the learning outcomes increasingly challenging as students progress through their degree pathways and modules?

How are students introduced to the foundations of the discipline?

How does each lecture / tutorial / practical build on the previous session?

How do staff members provide support for student change over time?

How is progression reflected in the choice of assessment strategy?

Are assessments and assessment criteria fully explained to students?

(C) Review curriculum provision for skills development

What professional skills do students need to develop?

What personal and interpersonal skills do students need to develop?

How are these skills-based learning outcomes communicated to students?

How are these professional, personal and interpersonal skills Introduced, Taught and Utilised (ITU) in each degree pathway and module?

How frequently are students given the opportunity to practice their skills and apply their knowledge?

How do the assessment strategies allow students to demonstrate their skills as well as their knowledge?

How are critical and creative thinking skills nurtured?

When are students given the opportunity to use these critical and creative thinking skills in participating in and / or critiquing research?

What timetabling and rooming changes need to be made to facilitate active and interactive learning sessions?

How is progression of skills development assured?

When are students encouraged to reflect on their skills in relation to those described in their programme specification? 

(D) Review curriculum for the development of autonomous learners

What preparation are students expected to do before a lecture / tutorial / practical?

What resources are provided to support out of class learning and preparation?

When could out-of-class work be given academic credit?

How do the teaching methods used encourage individual student engagement and participation in class?

What opportunities are there for students to engage in individual research activities?

What opportunities are given for peer-assessment and/or self-assessment?

Is feedback on assignments provided in a timely manner and of appropriate quality to enable students to learn how to improve their academic achievement?

(E) Review curriculum for learner-centeredness

What mechanisms are in place for identifying student learning styles / strengths & challenges?

How regularly do students receive feedback on their progress?

How is student feedback elicited during and after modules?

How is student feedback incorporated into curriculum and pedagogical reviews?

What role do students have in each learning session?

How do the teaching methods used encourage student engagement and participation in class? Do they have an opportunity to design assessment methods?

How are connections made between discipline knowledge and skills development, and the real-life experiences and expectations of students?

How are connections made between discipline knowledge and skills development, and professional and workplace demands? 

(F) Review curriculum for research connections and opportunities

How do staff incorporate their own research into teaching and learning sessions?

How is research literature incorporated into student’s preparation work for lectures / tutorials / practicals?

How is research literature incorporated into lectures / tutorials / practicals?

What opportunities are there for students to learn about research methodologies within their own discipline?

When can students participate in designing and conducting research?

When are students given the opportunity to develop and use critical and creative thinking skills in critiquing research?

How do the teaching strategies used encourage enquiry and problem-solving?

What next?

After evaluating the current curriculum provision, the links below lead to resources which offer support and direction for making curriculum changes and enhancements:

Using Bloom’s Cognitive Taxonomy Bloom, B. (1956) ‘Taxonomy of educational objectives: the classification of educational goals. Handbook 1, Cognitive domain’

CDIO – reviewing curriculum provision - using a professional accreditation matrix to guide/construct a curriculum review  - “Application of a Generic Curriculum Change Management Process to Motivate and Excite Students”

CDIO – Introductory course

Crawley, E., Malmgvist, J., Ostlund, S. and Brodeur, D. (2007)  ‘Rethinking Engineering Education - CDIO Approach[6] ’, Springer. See Chapters 1 & 2.

Simple active and interactive teaching methodologies

Self and peer-assessment

 

For further details of reviewing curriculum provision contact:

Linda Carey  l.carey@qub.ac.uk

Linda Ryles  l.ryles@qub.ac.uk