Courses are structured into a set of modules, each with a defined credit value. Here we look at how all these elements might be brought together with the subject content to determine a module structure for the course.
The Development Process
Depending on the nature of the course and the discipline, some course teams will have a significant amount of freedom in selecting what their course content should consist of, whilst other courses may be highly limited.
Course content will need to be placed into modules to form a coherent structure as a whole course rather than forming what appears to be a random set of modules. Some content may require students to have already completed significant learning to enable then to engage with it or only be suited for study in the final year.
The following process is suggested when preparing course content, preferably to be completed alongside stakeholders and in consultation with external academic experts.
Optionality & Independence
In practice, many courses do not have sufficient resources to be able to offer a range of study options for students. However, some courses will choose to include lower priority content or specialist pathways in optional modules. Some courses include independent study modules where a student is able to explore a subject related area independently, offering a means for students with particular passions to extend their studies in a personally meaningful way.
Indicative content description
While it is recognised that for many modules the content will vary each year to suit circumstances and current trends and issues, there should be an underlying description of what each module will always cover to enable students to achieve the module's learning outcomes. This is captured in the 'Indicative content' section within each module specification. Providing an indicative content that is very detailed can restrict flexibility in delivery. Generally, such detail is best reserved for module handbooks and Brightspace presentation.
Course teams are encouraged to adopt a consistent approach to presenting indicative content in their modules.
Once the subject areas are identified, these need to be placed into a Module structure. While it is not always easy to achieve, course teams should aim to divide the subject matter up into cognate collections that can each form a single module that represents a clearly understandable portion of the curriculum.
Each level of studies will normally consist of six modules (of 20 credits each) including any required elements such as research methods in Honours degrees. As explored in the discussions on Block Scheduling, course teams will need to define an order for the delivery of the modules within a level. This will help define progression of skills and knowledge development through each level.
Once a course module structure has been defined, plan in detail how the students' learning will progress. In particular, the course team will need to explore how subject, academic and transferable knowledge, skills and attributes will be delivered, practiced, refined and assessed through the course of the students’ studies: