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Course Design Blueprint

A Liberated Curriculum

A liberated curriculum reflects the design of a curriculum which is free from bias in relation to all protected characteristics. Inclusive approaches should be taken to every aspect of the curriculum and its delivery, including the practices of learning and teaching adopted, the selection of materials on reading and resource lists, the case studies and practice learning contexts, and the processes of assessment and feedback. In taking this approach it is possible to reduce the need for additional reasonable adjustments, and importantly, a diverse curriculum enables students to reflect upon their own identity and that of their family and culture in their learning.


A rubric to measure the inclusivity of your curriculum design
Exemplary Accomplished (Baseline) Promising Incomplete
All content is accessible to different groups of students with learning materials aligning to best practice for disabled students, and those with specific learning difficulties. These are available to students before lectures, or, where appropriate, made available soon afterwards using adaptive release in Brightspace. A range of learning materials and resources are made available to students pre or post lecture, and these meet some of the guidelines for accessible content. Many resources are made available, but students will have to make use of personal technologies to make them accessible for their particular learning difficulty or disability. Students with learning difficulties or disabilities can have access to materials if it has been agreed through a reasonable adjustment.
Language used is inclusive. Colloquial references are not used, and where they are complex terms these are explained and made available to students through a glossary. There is opportunity to reflect on these and their meaning or application in learning activities. A mix of language is used, including some colloquialisms, but these are explained to students in class. Most of the language is colloquial. There is some exploration of this through research and assessment. Students can ask if they don't understand. Colloquialisms are used. Students are expected to find out what these mean for themselves.

The content is 'liberated'. Case studies, reading and resource lists reflect the diversity in the learning community, meaning that students can identify their own backgrounds and cultures in their learning. 

As a result, students will be able to recognise diversity and their own potential to make a difference.

There is some diversity in the resources and reading list content. Students are supported in finding additional resources through tutorials or support from subject Librarians. This support is signposted in class. There are a range of resources made available. Students can choose which they use, or find their own. Resources are developed with little or no consideration of their diversity, or how students might relate to them.
Students are encouraged to share their own experiences and perspectives in class and online discussions, contributing to the awareness of other learners and the teaching team. Students are set group activities where they can discuss elements of difference and their own experiences. These are not shared outside of the peer learning group. A range of materials and resources highlighting other cultural perspectives is made available to students to read if they want to. Discussion of diversity and individual perspective is rarely encouraged. This is left for students to reflect on in their own time if they wish to.


A rubric to measure the inclusivity of your curriculum design
Exemplary Accomplished (Baseline) Promising Incomplete
The delivery of learning responds to different learning styles. There are alternative options for students who can not access content in a particular way, for example recordings of lectures and seminars made available, through Virtual Classroom of podcasts as default. Some content is made available using tools such as Virtual Classroom, but this is not applied to all lectures and seminars. If there are students in class who require alternative ways of accessing the learning delivery then adjustments are made. Students with learning difficulties or disabilities can arrange their alternative ways of access through reasonable adjustments.
The classroom is a welcoming space, with compassionate pedagogies used to encourage participation in class discussions and group work. A range of technologies are used in a classroom environment to provide alternative ways of engaging, including chat functions, or clickers. All staff have attended training in unconscious bias. All students are supported in the class environment and encouraged to participate in all activities. Students can make the lecturer aware if they do not feel able to, and additional support is provided on an individual basis. A range of classroom strategies are employed to try and foster an environment where students feel able to participate. Students are expected to 'join in' with all activities and if they do not that is their choice.
There are structured opportunities for cross-cultural interactions in learning activities. This helps students to develop their understanding of the value of working with people from different backgrounds. This might be through social learning in class, or in online group activities. There are no structured opportunities, but students are encouraged to work together, and efforts are made to foster cross-cultural interaction as much as it is possible. There are no structured activities, and if there is a need for a learning activity where students can work together, they create their own groups. This may result in some cross-cultural interaction. This is not considered as part of the design, development or delivery of learning activities, but it may happen organically.


A rubric to measure the inclusivity of your curriculum design
Accomplished (Baseline) Promising Incomplete
All assessment timelines are published at the beginning of the course, including formative, summative and the release of grades and feedback. Summative assessment and feedback schedules are published, only. Summative assessments are published, and students are told they should expect feedback in around 3 weeks. Dates are published, but they might move.
Assessment is designed for learning. Tasks are closely aligned to the programme and module learning outcomes. The assessment tasks are inclusive, and a range of tasks are included to test knowledge , skills and confidence verbally and orally, individually and in groups. Assessment is inclusive, reducing the need for reasonable adjustment as far as possible. There are a range of assessment types used, but there is scope to make assessment more creative and flexible. There is a range of types of assessment, but there is a heavy reliance on written work and or exam. Students can apply for reasonable adjustments for assessment if they require something different from other students. All students are expected to submit considerable amounts of written work, and have to rely on reasonable adjustments.
Case studies or vignettes used in assessment reflect the diversity of the student body. Students are able to draw upon their own background and experiences and may have the opportunity to apply particular principles in a context familiar to them. There are a range cultures and ethnicities reflected in the materials used as part of assessment, and students are supported in finding others which might better reflect their own. Examples are provided for students for a number of ethnic backgrounds, but there is an expectation that students will work with these or find their own. Standard case studies and vignettes are used, but are not reviewed or aligned to the diversity of the student group participating in the learning.


A rubric to measure the inclusivity of your curriculum design
Exemplary Accomplished (Baseline) Promising Incomplete
Feedback for all formative and summative assessment, including exams is provided on time, and makes use of audio-visual annotation and feedback tools as well as written comments, where appropriate, enabling students to understand and follow up on feedback. It is expressed in inclusive language and encourages positive motivational beliefs and self-esteem. Feedback is provided for summative assessment using audio-visual annotation tools. Feedback on formative assessment is provided through other means e.g. written or face to face. It is expressed in inclusive language and supports self-esteem. Feedback is only provided on summative assessment, and it is only available in written format. Feedback is provided in writing, but is often brief and not in language which is accessible or inclusive.
Discussion of feedback takes place in class, through personal tutorials and encouraged through peer reflection and activities to ensure students have fully understood it and had chance to ask questions. Processes are in place which enable tutors to monitor how and when students access their feedback, and make use of it in future work. Student are actively encouraged to discuss feedback through personal tutorials if they wish. Overarching feedback is provided to the whole class after the assessment and grades are released Students can discuss this through personal tutorials if they wish. Feedback is provided, but it is up to the students how they make use of it in future assessment. They could always talk to an Academic Skills Advisor in Learning Services.