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Course Design Blueprint


Academic Voice

One of the most significant development requirements for the majority of our students is their need to develop the ability to express themselves academically.  This involves a combination of skills and abilities that will enable the students to bring together their learning, research findings, critical thought, and conclusions in a format and form that is academically sound and logically constructed.  While the various skills discussed in the academic skills and attributes section all contribute to this, bringing these skills together constructively and effectively requires further learning, developmental opportunities and opportunities for feedback. 

Course teams need to recognise this in the design of their course, integrating specific opportunities for such learning and development into all levels of their provision.  As depicted in the FHEQ level outcomes (see section on Learning Outcomes), students are expected to demonstrate learning in their abilities to express themselves:

  • Level four: communicate the results of their study/work accurately and reliably, and with structured and coherent arguments.
  • Level five: effectively communicate information, arguments and analysis in a variety of forms to specialist and non-specialist audiences and deploy key techniques of the discipline effectively.
  • Level six: critically evaluate arguments, assumptions, abstract concepts and data (that may be incomplete), to make judgements, and to frame appropriate questions to achieve a solution - or identify a range of solutions - to a problem [and] communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Level seven: deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences.

Students will need to be taught the meaning of these levels of achievement, provided with ample opportunities to explore ‘good’ examples, and possibly critique poorer examples, in order to develop their personal understanding of the expectations on them for academic expression.