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Programme and Course Design

Do you want to learn more about, or further develop your experience of, programme and course design? If so, welcome to the Supporting Course and  Programme Design website!

This site has been created by colleagues at the Institute for Academic Development to support staff in course and programme design.

Programme and course design provides the vital foundation for pedagogical success, which involves far more than just adding content to a course structure. Designing programmes and courses thoughtfully and rigorously provides a framework for sustainable and effective teaching and learning, which leads to successful student outcomes.

This site will help you design and develop your programmes and courses by sign-posting you to University of Edinburgh-supported resources, design techniques, good practice examples, case studies, quick tips, toolkits, and reflective prompts. While curriculum design is best approached from an holistic view, for the purpose of this site, we have broken content down into distinct sections. There will be overlap between these sections, and where appropriate, we have added links to help navigate the connections.  While the content of this site supports the Curriculum for Transformation Programme (CTP), it is not a handbook for actioning CTP. Further resources are under development to support this.

For an overall introduction to Designing Courses and Programmes,  we recommend watching the video below by Professor Vel McCune (19 mins):

This video is part of the Postgraduate Certificate Academic Practice (PgCAP). The following are weblinks to key policies and documents mentioned in this video:

How to use this site

This site is not meant to be prescriptive nor a how-to guide; its aim is to provide you with a compilation of resources and information provided by a range of colleagues across the University, as well as from external sources, to guide you on what ever stage you are at in programme and course design. Feel free to pick and choose what is of most use to you.

The first heading on the left-hand side menu, ‘Programme and course design’, contains sub-headings that present the main conceptual approaches for educators to consider when approaching programme and course design. These include: understanding what we mean by the ‘curriculum’; an introduction to the Univerity’s Curricululm Design Principles (part of the Curriculum Transformation Programme); useful curriculum models to follow or be inspired by; guidance on designing learning outcomes; an overview of embedding digital pedadogy; an index of policies and regulations; and some examples of course and programme design in practice.

The rest of the headings in the left-hand side menu after ‘Programme and Course Design’ are core elements integral to ‘good’ pedagogy that should all be consulted when designing courses and programmes, for example, Universal Design, Sustainability, and Reflection.

For each element, two further sub-headings are offered: ‘Embedding in practice’ and ‘Additional Resources’.

‘Embedding in practice’ sections provide helpful and practical tips, reflection prompts, quick resources and case studies to help educators envisage how they can actively design each element into their course and programme on a practical level.

‘Additional resources’ sections offers more comprehensive support for each element, including useful blog posts, videos and podcasts; training, networks and sign-posting of support within the University; resources, toolkits and guidance that are available outside the University community; and scholarship, such as book chapters and journal articles for further reading on the subject.

At the end of the left-hand menu, you will find a section to provide feedback on this WordPress site, including suggestions for additional resources or requests for support and guidance not currenlty covered.


Original art work by Kate Granholm: @katesartthings.


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