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Curriculum Design

Key Principles and Priorities

In designing a module for Block and Blend, there are a number of key areas  that should be carefully considered as set out below.

Varying learning activities 

It is important that any module’s learning activity is varied between different types of activities to enliven the experience and prevent those who find a particular type of activity uninspiring from disengaging.  Teams are encouraged to interweave flipped learning, active learning activities, opportunities for authentic learning, and formative tasks throughout their block learning plans, providing structure and prompting learning activity throughout each week. 

It is also preferable to include a variety of types of activity that could be done in parallel or in different orders depending on the student’s contexts, opportunities to engage, and preferences.  This makes the learning more accessible for students according to their circumstances.  This approach  also seeks to avoid students coming across an activity which acts as a barrier to their engagement and thus stops all learning until it is surmounted.  Having alternative activities that can be engaged with can allow students to gain understanding or confidence, or simply enable a change of mood or mindset, such that the problematic activity can be approached more positively or effectively. 

Overall learning aims and approaches 

Concentrating a module’s learning into a focussed period will have a large impact on the look and feel of the learning.   

For some courses, the approaches adopted previously will not easily work in block delivery—students may not have sufficient time to reflect on and digest material, or to develop, practice and refine skills or critical abilities.  In recognition of this, there may be a need to  

  • review outcomes for early modules in a year to ensure only those achievable will be assessed (possibly recognising partial rather than full achievement at that stage of the course) 

  • reposition learning outcomes across a year’s modules. 

  • postpone the assessment of outcomes to later modules in the year once they have been more expansively developed. 

Blended learning 

Brightspace should be integral to all learning activities, including those taking place on campus, in seminars and tutorials. Learning should be set out with explicit links between activities showing how they all complement each other, whether on campus, in the workplace, online, or contributing to assessment.  The storyboard illustrates how this might look within a module, although there are a multitude of ways in which learning activities might be configured to best meet the needs of the students and the course content. 

Guidance on use of Brightspace in and across learning environments is available in the Digipath series as well as on