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Curriculum Renewal at Adelaide

Overview of the Project

Background

The Curriculum Renewal Project operated within each Faculty of the University from April to December, 2013. Major drivers for the Project included: The University's Beacon of Enlightenment Strategic Plan 2013-2023, Report of the Undergraduate Curriculum Structures Framework Working Party, (September 2012), and external requirements of the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA).

In addition to the national and University-wide drivers mentioned above, local faculty issues shaped the approach. These included: recent reviews of target programs, accreditation/registration requirements and Threshold Learning Outcomes.

The project targeted one program in each of the five University faculties, with major outcomes being an agreed process and resources that could be applied to other programs within the faculty. The comprehensive process developed through the project is a blueprint for ongoing renewal. The expectation is that faculties will continue the work begun during the life of the project in the targeted programs as well as to instigate the renewal process in other programs.

Target Programs

Faculty Program/s
Arts Bachelor of Arts
Engineering, Computer & Mathematical Sciences Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) (Electrical and Electronic)
Health Sciences Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, and Oral Health
Professions Bachelor of Commerce
Sciences Bachelor of Science

Common Approach

The approach taken in the curriculum renewal process involves four stages:

  • mapping of current curriculum at the level of course, major and program
  • identification of preferred curriculum
  • reshaping of the curriculum at the level of program, major and course
  • documentation of changes

Curriculum renewal is shaped by four interrelated contexts:

Figure 1. Dimensions of Curriculum Renewal pdf, represents these contexts as concentric circles, identifying factors with increasing levels of focus on the specifics of a curriculum.

curriculum renewal contexts

Key features of the renewed curriculum include:

  • focus on the program/major as the organising entity
  • emphasis on outcomes at the level of program/major with alignment between learning outcomes, assessment and teaching and learning arrangements of the constituent courses
  • coherent and developmental schedule of study, specifying progression of knowledge and skills and culminating in capstones,
  • comprehensive scope of knowledge and skills, taking account of:

Focus within the Faculties

Although the Project adopted a similar approach across the faculties, there was significant variation in the emphasis, nature of the outcomes and extent of renewal.

  • Bachelor of Arts, Faculty of Arts

    Project focus in the Bachelor of Arts in the Faculty of Arts involved:

    • framing the knowledge, skills, and application of knowledge and skills of each major within the Graduate Attributes by developing Discipline-Specific Learning Outcomes (DSLO) statements for each major
    • developing documentation for the four-stage renewal process
    • implementing the process by mapping constituent courses using the DSLO statements and aggregating these course reviews into reviews of the majors, undertaking renewal of majors through their constituent courses, and completing required documentation
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) (Electrical and Electronic), Faculty of ECMS

    Project focus in the Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) (Electrical and Electronic), Faculty of Engineering, Computer & Mathematical Sciences involved:

    • identifying content themes and concepts and how they are developed across the year levels
    • undertaking a major revision of the program to AQF Level 8, including developing a program structure that facilitates a range of new majors
    • determining program and course learning outcomes.
  • Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, and Oral Health, Faculty of Health Sciences

    Project focus for inter-professional curriculum renewal across Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, and Oral Health within the Faculty of Health Sciences involved:

    • mapping thematic material expressed as assessment tasks across the four disciplines in scope to address common practice issues
    • using the Threshold Learning Outcomes for Health (TLO) as the organising (common) factor
    • deriving indicators for the six overarching Threshold Learning Outcomes from the professional accreditation standards relevant to each program.
  • Bachelor of Commerce, Faculty of the Professions

    Project focus in the Bachelor of Commerce within the Faculty of the Professions involved:

    • reconsidering the current structure of the program to address a range of issues identified in the most recent review
    • specifying the courses best suited to carry the University's priorities, including Small Group Discovery Experience and capstone courses
    • mapping current program learning outcomes against Graduate Attributes, the Australian Qualifications Framework and industry requirements
  • Bachelor of Science, Faculty of Sciences

    Project focus in the Bachelor of Science, Faculty of Sciences involved:

    • using the Threshold Learning Outcomes for Science as the basis for reviewing the current curriculum
    • revising program and course learning outcomes and aligning these with assessment, and teaching and learning arrangements
    • trialling the processes developed in Ecology and Chemistry majors.

Faculty Processes and Resources

Documents outlining faculty processes and resources are available through the links below.

 

Further Resources and References

Higher Education Issues

Australian Learning and Teaching Council 2011, Learning and teaching academic standards project report, Australian Government, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.olt.gov.au/system/files/resources/LTAS_report_architecture_building_education_science_2011.pdf>.

Australian Qualifications Framework Council 2013, Australian qualifications framework, 2nd edn, Australian Qualifications Framework Council, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.aqf.edu.au/>.

Department of Industry, Innovation, Science and Tertiary Education 2009, Transforming Australia’s higher education system, Australian Government, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.innovation.gov.au/HigherEducation/ResourcesAndPublications/TransformingAustraliasHigherEducationSystem/Pages/default.aspx>.

Englaro, M 2012, Stakeholder relationships in higher education, InsightfulCRM, Sydney.

Ernst and Young 2012, University of the future: a thousand year old industry on the cusp of change, Ernst and Young, Sydney, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/University_of_the_future/$FILE/University_of_the_future_2012.pdf>.

PBworks, 2013, Discipline Standards in Australia, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://disciplinestandards.pbworks.com/w/page/52657697/FrontPage>.

Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency 2012, Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, Australian Government, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.teqsa.gov.au/>.

Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency 2013, Application guide: application for renewal of registration, version 2.3, Australian Government, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.teqsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/GuideRenewalRegistration_v2.3_0.pdf>.

Tuning EU, Tuning educational structures in Europe, University of Deusto, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.unideusto.org/tuningeu/>.

Curriculum Renewal

Briggs, C 2007, ‘Curriculum collaboration: A key to continuous program renewal’, The Journal of Higher Education, vol. 78, no. 6, pp. 676-711.

Griffith University, Graduate attributes program mapping template, Griffith University, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.griffith.edu.au/__data/assets/file/0020/224480/Program-Mapping-Template.xlsx>.  

Martinez, K & Rodger, S 2011, Good practice guide 2: whole of program curriculum design, Office for Learning and Teaching, Sydney, viewed 4 March, 2014, <http://www.olt.gov.au/system/files/resources/Good%20Practice%20Guide%202%20.pdf>.

Narayan, B & Edwards, S 2011, Good practice report: curriculum renewal, Australian Learning and Teaching Council, Sydney, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.olt.gov.au/system/files/resources/GPR_Curriculum%20renewal_Edwards.pdf>.

Oliver, B, Jones, S, Ferns, S & Tucker, B 2007, Mapping curricula: ensuring work-ready graduates by mapping course learning outcomes and higher order thinking skills, peer reviewed paper presented at the Evaluations and Assessment Conference, QUT, Brisbane.

Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education UK, Subject benchmark statements explaining the core competencies at honours degree level, Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.qaa.ac.uk/AssuringStandardsAndQuality/subject-guidance/Pages/Honours-degree-benchmark-statements.aspx>.

Rodger, S 2011, Good practice guide 3: principles of curriculum renewal and change, Office for Learning and Teaching, Sydney, viewed 4 March, 2014, <http://www.olt.gov.au/system/files/resources/Good%20Practice%20Guide%203%20.pdf>.

Spencer, D, Riddle, M & Knewstubb, B 2012, ‘Curriculum mapping to embed graduate capabilities,’ Higher Education Research and Development, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 217-231, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/07294360.2011.554387>.

Academic Literacies

Lea, MR 2004, ‘Academic literacies: a pedagogy for course design’, Studies in Higher Education, vol. 29, no. 6, pp. 368-377.

Lea, MR & Street, BV 2006, ‘The “Academic literacies” model: theory and applications’, Theory into Practice, vol. 45, no. 4, pp. 368-377, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.jstor.org/stable/40071622 >.

Research Skills

Healey, M & Jenkins, A 2009, Developing undergraduate research and inquiry, The Higher Education Academy, York, viewed on 4 March 2014, <http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/documents/resources/publications/developingundergraduate_final.pdf>.

Graduate Attributes

Barrie, S 2007, ‘A conceptual framework for the teaching and learning of generic graduate attributes’, Studies in Higher Education, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03075070701476100>.

Barrie, S, Hughes, C, Crisp, G & Bennison, A 2014, Assessing and assuring Australian graduate learning outcomes: principles and practices within and across disciplines, Office for Learning and Teaching, Sydney, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.olt.gov.au/system/files/resources/SP10_1879_Barrie_Report%20_2013.pdf>.

Barrie, S, Hughes, C, Smith, C 2009a, The national graduate attributes project: integration and assessment of graduate attributes in curriculum, University of Sydney, viewed 4 March 2014, < http://www.olt.gov.au/system/files/resources/GI7-633%20Sydney%20Barrie%20Graduate%20Attributes%20report%202009.pdf>.

Barrie, S, Hughes, C, Smith, C 2009b, The national graduate attributes project issues papers, University of Sydney, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.itl.usyd.edu.au/projects/nationalgap/resources/GAPpdfs/NationalGAP_issues_Papers.pdf>.

Barrie, S, Hughes, C, Smith, C & Thomson, K 2009, Key issues to consider in the renewal of learning and teaching experiences to foster graduate attributes, University of Sydney, viewed 4 March 2014, <https://www.itl.usyd.edu.au/projects/nationalgap/resources/GAPpdfs/NationalGAP_issues_Papers.pdf>.

Bath, D, Smith, C, Stein, S & Swann, R 2004, 'Beyond mapping and embedding graduate attributes: bringing together quality assurance and action learning to create a validated and living curriculum', Higher Education Research and Development, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 313-328.

Bowman, K 2010, Background paper for the AQF Council on generic skills, Australian Qualifications Framework, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.aqf.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Generic-skills-background-paper-FINAL.pdf>.

de la Harpe, B & David, CB 2012, ‘Major influences on the teaching and assessment of graduate attributes’, Higher Education Research and Development, vol. 31, no. 4, pp. 493-510, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07294360.2011.629361>.

Dowling, D & Hadgraft, R 2013a, DYD: Defining Your Discipline to facilitate curriculum renewal in undergraduate programs: a graduate capability framework for environmental engineering, Office of Learning and Teaching, Sydney,  viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.olt.gov.au/system/files/resources/PP9-1280_Dowling_DYD_%20Guide%20Web%20_2013.pdf>.

Dowling, D & Hadgraft, R 2013b, DYD: Defining Your Discipline to facilitate curriculum renewal in undergraduate programs: The DYD stakeholder consultation process user guide, Office of Learning and Teaching, Sydney, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.olt.gov.au/system/files/resources/PP9-1280_Dowling_DYD_Stakeholder%20Process%20Web_2013.pdf>. 

Griffith University, Griffith graduate attributes, Griffith University, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.griffith.edu.au/learning-teaching/student-success/graduate-attributes>.

Harvey, N & Shahjahan, M 2013, Employability of bachelor of arts graduates, Office of Learning and Teaching, Sydney, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.olt.gov.au/system/files/resources/CG9_1156_Harvey_Report_2013_1.pdf>.

Oliver, B 2014, Assuring Graduate Capabilities, Australian Learning and Teaching Council, Sydney, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://boliver.ning.com/>.

Prosser, M & Barrie, SC 2003, 'Using a student-focused learning perspective to strategically align academic development with institutional quality assurance', in R. Blackwell & P. Blackmore (eds), Towards Strategic Staff Development in Higher Education, Open University Press, Buckingham, pp.191-202.

Sumsion, J & Goodfellow, J 2004, 'Identifying generic skills through curriculum mapping: a critical evaluation', Higher Education Research and Development, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 329-346.

Taylor, T, Thompson, D, Simpson, L, Paltridge, A, Fletcher, M, Freeman, M, Treleaven, L, Lawson, R & Rohde, F 2009, Facilitating staff and student engagement with graduate attribute development, assessment and standards in business faculties, Office of Teaching and Learning, Sydney, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.olt.gov.au/system/files/resources/PP7-322%20UTS%20Taylor%20Report%20Sept%202009%20edited.pdf> .

University of Sydney 2014, The national graduate attributes project, University of Sydney, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.itl.usyd.edu.au/projects/nationalgap/resources/gamap/introduction.htm>.

University of the Sunshine Coast 2012, Starting with the end in mind...Ideas for engaging with graduate attributes and standards curriculum renewal, University of the Sunshine Coast, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.usc.edu.au/media/3196/GraduateAttributesGuidebook2012.pdf>.

Learning Outcomes and Constructive Alignment

Anderson, LW, Krathwohl, DR, Airasian, PW, Cruikshank, KA, Mayer, RE, Pintrich, PR, Raths, J & Wittrock, MC 2000, A taxonomy for learning, teaching and assessing: a revision of Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives, Pearson, Allyn & Bacon, NY.

Atherton, JS 2013, SOLO taxonomy, Learning and Teaching, viewed March 2014, <http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning2/solo.htm>.

Baume, D 2009, Writing and using good learning outcomes, Leeds Metropolitan University, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://repository-intralibrary.leedsmet.ac.uk/open_virtual_file_path/i3128n162822t/Writing%20and%20using%20good%20learning%20outcomes.pdf>.

Biggs, J 2002, Aligning the curriculum to promote good learning, Constructive Alignment in Action: Imaginative Curriculum Symposium, LTSN Generic Centre, 4 November 2002, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://78.158.56.101/archive/palatine/files/1023.pdf>.

Biggs, J & Tang, C 2007, Teaching for quality learning at university, 3rd edn, Open University Press McGraw-Hill Education, Maidenhead, Berkshire, UK.

Clark, D 2013, Bloom's taxonomy of learning domains, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/bloom.html#SOLO>. [Alternative to Bloom: Structure of Observed Learning Outcome (SOLO).]

Heer, R 2011, A model of learning objectives based on a taxonomy for learning, teaching and assessing: a revision of Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives, Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, Iowa State University, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.celt.iastate.edu/teaching/RevisedBlooms1.html>.

Kennedy, D, Hyland, A & Ryan, N 2006, Writing and using learning outcomes: a practical guide, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://sss.dcu.ie/afi/docs/bologna/writing_and_using_learning_outcomes.pdf >.

Macquarie University 2013, Setting learning outcomes, Macquarie University, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://staff.mq.edu.au/teaching/curriculum_assessment/assessment/toolkit/setting_outcomes/>.

Macquarie University 2014, Writing learning outcomes in units, Macquarie University, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://mq.edu.au/iLearn/resources/units_learning_outcomes.htm>.

Moon, J, Linking levels, learning outcomes and assessment criteria, viewed on 4 March 2014, <http://www.ehea.info/Uploads/Seminars/040701-02Linking_Levels_plus_ass_crit-Moon.pdf>.

Race, P, Brown, S & Smith, B 2005, 'Designing learning outcomes and linking them to assessment', extract from 500 Tips on Assessment, 2nd edn, Routledge, London, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://phil-race.co.uk/most-popular-downloads/>.

University of Adelaide 2013a, Guide to writing learning outcomes, University of Adelaide, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.adelaide.edu.au/learning2/teaching/curriculum/outcomes/>.

University of Adelaide 2013b, University of Adelaide graduate attributes, University of Adelaide, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.adelaide.edu.au/learning2/strategy/gradattributes/>.

Assessment

Boud, D 2010, Assessment 2020: seven propositions for assessment reform in higher education, Australian Learning and Teaching Council, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.olt.gov.au/system/files/resources/Assessment%202020_final.pdf>.

Gore, J, Ladwig, J, Elsworth, W, Ellis, H, Parkes, R & Griffiths, T 2009, Quality assessment linking assessment tasks and teaching outcomes in the social sciences, University of Newcastle, viewed on 4 March 2014, <http://www.olt.gov.au/system/files/resources/PP7-320%20ALTC%20report%20final%20submission%20for%20upload.pdf>.

Race, P, Brown, S & Smith, B 2005, 'Designing learning outcomes and linking them to assessment', extract from 500 Tips on Assessment, 2nd edn, Routledge, London, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://phil-race.co.uk/most-popular-downloads/>.

University of Adelaide 2012, Assessment types, University of Adelaide, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.adelaide.edu.au/learning2/teaching/assessment/introduction/assessmentTypes.pdf>.

University of Sydney 2012, Blooms revised taxonomy with matched sample verbs, learning outcomes and assessment tasks, University of Sydney, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.itl.usyd.edu.au/assessmentresources/Blooms_taxonomy.pdf>.

University of Sydney 2013a, Assessment resources, University of Sydney, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.itl.usyd.edu.au/assessmentresources/default.htm>.

University of Sydney 2013b, Matching learning and assessment, University of Sydney, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.itl.usyd.edu.au/assessmentresources/increasing_complexity_matching.htm>. [Sourced from: Integrative Assessment. Blending assignments and assessments for high quality learning. Guide no 3. The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education 2007.]

University of Sydney 2013c, Types of Assessment, University of Sydney, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.itl.usyd.edu.au/assessmentresources/increasing_complexity_assessment.htm>. [Sourced from: Brown, G. 2001, Assessment: a guide for lecturers. Assessment series no.3, The Generic Centre LTSN.]

University of Technology Sydney 2013, Assessment Futures, University of Technology Sydney, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.uts.edu.au/research-and-teaching/teaching-and-learning/assessment-futures/overview>.

Assessment and group work

Crebert, G, Patrick, CJ, Cragnolini, V, Smith, C, Worsfold, K & Webb, F 2011, Teamwork Skills Toolkit, 2nd edn, Griffith University, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.griffith.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/290870/Teamwork-skills.pdf>.

Davies, WM 2009, ‘Groupwork as a form of assessment: common problems and recommended solutions’, Higher Education, vol. 58, no. 4, pp.563-584.

Isaacs, G 2002, Assessing group tasks, University of Sydney, viewed 4 March 2014 <http://www.itl.usyd.edu.au/assessmentresources/pdf/Link11.pdf>.

James, R, McInnis, C & Devlin, M 2002, Assessing groupwork, Assessing Learning in Australian Universities, University of Melbourne, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.cshe.unimelb.edu.au/assessinglearning/03/group.html>.

Watson, P 2009, The 39 steps. A checklist for assessing team and group work, Macquarie University, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://staff.mq.edu.au/public/download/?id=40252>.

Group work

Cuseo, J 1992, ‘Cooperative learning vs. small-group discussions and group projects: The critical differences’, Cooperative Learning and College Teaching, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 5-10, viewed 4 March 2014, <www.dida-net.it/didattica/tutoring/paoladida/differences.doc>.

Maiden, B & Perry, B 2011, ‘Dealing with free-riders in assessed group work: results from a study at a UK university’, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, vol. 36, no. 4, pp. 451-464, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02602930903429302#tabModule >.

Oakley, B, Brent, R, Felder, RM & Elhaji, I 2004, ‘Turning student groups into effective teams,’ New Forums Press, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 9-34, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www4.ncsu.edu/unity/lockers/users/f/felder/public/Papers/Oakley-paper(JSCL).pdf>.

Oliver, B & Whelan, B 2011, Building course team capacity to enhance graduate employability, Office of Teaching and Learning, Sydney, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.olt.gov.au/system/files/resources/CG8-735_CUT%20Oliver_Final%20Report%202011.pdf>.

Blended Learning

Griffith University, Blended learning support: guides and resources on blended learning, Griffith University, Brisbane, viewed 4 March 2014, <https://intranet.secure.griffith.edu.au/computing/blended-learning-support/learning-and-teaching-design/guides-and-resources>. 

Partridge, H, Ponting, D & McCay, M 2011, Good practice report: blended learning, Australian Learning and Teaching Council, Sydney, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.olt.gov.au/system/files/resources/GPR_Blended_learning_Partridge_2011.pdf>.

Torrisi-Steele, G 2011, ‘This thing called blended learning—A definition and planning approach’, in Krause, K, Buckridge, M, Grimmer, C & Purbrick-Illek, S (eds.) Research and Development in Higher Education: Reshaping Higher Education, refereed proceedings of the HERDSA Annual International Conference, 4–7 July 2011, Gold Coast, Australia, vol. 34. pp. 360–371, viewed 4 March 2014, <http://www.herdsa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/conference/2011/papers/HERDSA_2011_Torrisi-Steele.PDF>.

Division of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Vice-President (Academic)
Address

The University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005
Australia

Street Address

Level 7, Wills Building
North Terrace Campus
THE UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE
SA 5005 AUSTRALIA

Contact

T +61 8 8313 5901
F +61 8 8313 8333

dvca@adelaide.edu.au