The learning and teaching design guide uses the new course specification format as a means of helping staff navigate their way through a fundamental consideration of learning and teaching design: Constructive Alignment.
Constructive alignment is a concept used to express the requirement for teachers to align course learning objectives, course materials, teaching methods, and assessment (Biggs 20031). In other words, students are more likely to successfully and authentically learn the course objectives if the teaching of disciplinary knowledge, class activities and assessment are targeted directly towards those objectives.
The learning and teaching design guide streamlines the process of checking various components of the course, including teaching topics and activities, assessment and learning objectives. It is designed to generate the least possible amount of work for academic staff. A lot of sections will be automatically populated from the course specification.
The ultimate aim of this Learning and Teaching Design Guide is to function as a design tool for academic staff to use, either by themselves or in consultation with their learning and teaching faculty representative, and as a means of checking ideas about learning activities, teaching and assessment.
The Learning and Teaching Design Guide also provides links to both the Assessment Checklist and Course Writing Guide which provide more detail on assessment and course writing and production, respectively.
The Learning and Teaching Design Guide can also be used for staff engaged in either course or program review processes.
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Assessment is used in higher education to:
All assessment is aligned to the course objectives, so that all objectives are assessed on each offer of the course. University of Southern Queensland (USQ) uses criterion-referenced assessment only . This means that all students are graded on the basis of their work alone, not by reference to how other students have performed. Criteria are dimensions or characteristics of a given assessment task and are usually accompanied by a standard or level of achievement required for each grade. Assessment or grading criteria are linked closely with the course objectives. For example, when marking an essay a key criterion that reflects the course learning objective of good written communication might be ‘appropriate structure’.
The Learning and Teaching Support Unit provides the following resources to help you design a course assessment plan and its accompanying assessment tasks.
When we refer to ‘graduate qualities’ we are referring to broad vision statements that describe types of student learning that go beyond knowledge-based outcomes. Graduate qualities statements are typically provided at a discipline or program level.
USQ has developed a policy called ‘The Qualities of a USQ Graduate’ identifying five overarching qualities that typify graduates of this university. They are:
The level and mix of qualities may vary according to the discipline or program focus and will be developed through the teaching and assessment of the following skills:
Graduate skills are aligned with course assessment. They are expressed as learning outcomes on course specifications and as criteria on assessment criteria sheets and marking rubrics. Students will be offered opportunities outside of their program to develop graduate qualities and skills, including the USQ Phoenix Award and employability or careers activities.
The is designed to help you compile your course materials based on some guiding general principles. If you find you have not addressed a particular element please review to ensure you do not need to include that element.
This form will allow you to:
At USQ, post-evaluation is a systematic process of gathering evidence, reporting results, reviewing for actions, and responding to students on their feedback of the learning environments and experiences. Student feedback informs course and teaching reviews, accreditation and improvements, professional development, and the university’s quality assurance process.
The standard University evaluation processes can be supplemented by the use of:
The Learning and Teaching Support Unit provides the following resources to help staff plan and implement evaluation processes.
1 Biggs, J. (2003). Teaching for Quality Learning at University. 2nd edn, Maidenhead, UK, Open University Press.
2 Broadfoot P. and Black P. (2004). Redefining assessment? The first ten years of assessment in education. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy and Practice, vol 11, issue 1, pp7-26.