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Course Design Blueprint: Rationale

How do we shape the course overview? 

Strong Foundations, Keystones and Cornerstones should be established early in the design process through careful consideration of course content, including subject knowledge, theory and skills alongside contextualised generic elements such as academic skills and research methods. 

In this section we look at the expectations for how course content is identified, structured, and presented. 

It is important that the course team develop a clear shared vision of their intended course that they can use to guide their developmental and design decisions, and to communicate their intentions to stakeholders.  This may need to be expressed slightly differently (with particular emphasises) for different audiences but all such portrayals should be true to the shared vision.

For a course team beginning a course design process, it is likely that this overall vision will evolve as the team consider various aspects of course development, whilst teams seeking to review and enhance existing course designs may already have existing visions in place, although quite often these are tacit and teams would benefit from activity to draw out a vision they can agree on.

It is important to have a clear course ‘line-of-vision’ as to how the course content is ‘distinctive’. During the early stages of course design, you should consider: Who is the target audience? What makes the course different or exciting? Specialist course content within the specific area or the overall discipline Involvement of employers in delivery and placements Integration of sector training, accreditation, or other recognition Inclusive learning design features Character of the learning experience and learner community Meeting identified employment demand or regional of local needs Supporting progression routes for higher level study
As you begin to design and develop your course, it is helpful to create and establish a clear vision and rationale including course aims and objectives, target audience and the skills knowledge to be developed. The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Characteristics Statements describe the distinctive features of qualifications at particular levels within the Qualifications Frameworks. They describe the qualifications in terms of their purpose, general characteristics and generic outcomes, but do not include subject level detail. Alignment with the statements throughout the design process is essential.