Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Principles of course design

The Course Review, Design and Development Policy is founded on a set of best practice principles that address the components and drivers of quality course design.

Principles of course design

  1. Course design is an institution-wide, quality assured and collaborative systems approach.
  2. Course Review, Design and Development are part of an iterative course lifecycle process of continuous improvement that includes delivery, feedback and evaluation.
  3. Course performance and market analysis inform the planning process of course review and design.
  4. Courses are designed for online learning opportunities and assessments, and subjects incorporate the Online Learning Model and learning designs.
  5. Course Learning Outcomes and Evidence of Learning define the knowledge and skills students must achieve to meet the course-level standards.
  6. Course teams utilise student feedback in the process of design and, where possible, include student representatives as members of course design teams.
  7. Collaborative work forms the basis of course design and development activities. Course teams include representatives of CSU faculties, schools and a range of divisions, as well the relevant profession to enable multiple perspectives to be incorporated into course design.
  8. Course design is a cyclic process that utilises iterative design and constructive alignment.
  9. Subjects contain authentic and criterion-referenced and standards-based assessment tasks that map to course-level standards and subject-level learning outcomes. Tasks must have clearly defined assessment criteria and performance standards that make explicit what students need to achieve in order to receive a grade for assessment tasks.
  10. Course Review, Design and Development is within the scope of academic work and is allocated separately as part of a normal workload. This includes planning, leadership and mapping of resources to ensure accountability at all levels of the process.
  11. Design approval processes include formative and summative approval through Faculty Courses Committees. Development of subjects is approved at School level.
  12. Integrated course-level standards draw on CSU Graduate Learning Outcomes, the Australian Qualifications Framework learning outcomes and relevant professional standards. These standards are embedded in subject-level learning outcomes, assessment criteria and demonstrated through assessment tasks.
  13. Courses are designed, where required, to include workplace learning with authentic partnerships in the field.
  14. Students experience a range of learning opportunities that relate to future employment. Learning is designed to utilise pedagogical approaches that are appropriate to content and supported by research.
  15. The course design process is informed by regular feedback from relevant stakeholders, which supports iterative and responsive design.

The CSU course design process realises these principles, building on:

  • what is known about the course and the university’s commitments to design and pedagogy
  • the industry, sector and university standards required of the course
  • the course learning outcomes that define what graduates should know and be able to do to meet the various standards
  • assessment that produces evidence of achieving course learning outcomes
  • subject learning outcomes, learning and teaching strategies and the knowledge and skills required to achieve the assessment criteria
  • content, learning activities and resources that support achievement of the subject learning outcomes