Programme Design, Module Design and Session Planning


Today kicked off with a discussion surrounding factors which can affect programme design. Some of these factors were QAA National Qualifications Framework, SEEC Level Descriptors, QAA Subject Benchmarks, Professional Accreditation, QAA Code of Practice and the Equality Act (2010).

SEEC Level Descriptors and QAA Subject Benchmarks

SEEC (south east education consortium) credit level descriptors, they have been adopted pretty much across the UK. By visiting the SEEC Credit Level Decriptors for higher eduction document you can view ‘The SEEC Descriptors: by Level’ (e.g. Masters – Level7). QAA have subject benchmarks which have more specific guidelines at subject level.

Teaching has moved from content based to outcomes based, Ramsden, 2003. Outcomes based uses verbs that describe what students can do and assessment to provide evidence that students can do something. We also have processed based (McGill and Beaty, 2001), which is where we are shifting towards. Process based requires activities for learning and can include: Problem Based Learning, field work, working in teams; effectively learning through problem solving.

When designing programme and modules constructive alignment need to take place. Firstly write your Intended Learning Outcomes, then align the learning and teaching activities so they are designed with meeting those outcomes. Next align the assessment methods so they designed to assess those Intended Learning Outcomes. Writing bad learning outcomes will alway make it harder to come up with activities.

Programme level aims and outcomes are more broad and should only comprise of 3-5 bullet points. Aims broken down in bullet points – yes as the programme is broad. Module level aims and outcomes are much more detailed.

Next we looked at Definitive Module Records (DMRs). DMR’s should have SMART outcomes:

S pecific
M easureable
A chievable
R ealistic
T imely/Tracked/Targeted

It is a good idea to use verbs for designing aims and outcomes so the learning becomes active, try to avoid using the word understand. The word understand is not measurable, instead use words like analyse, compare, assess develop or criticise.

Designing a session plan

Firstly design a programme spec, then module DMRs, then scheme of work. This is not required by Plymouth University, but session planning is necessary for the session lead.

Design a session plan template. This is where I have been guilty of not planning thoroughly. I have used session plans before in my sessions but they have been lacking in some key areas. For instance I have never really planned for sessions dependent on the number of students in the room. Sadly my focus on the sessions have always been about what i need to teach rather than what the audience need to learn. This sounds silly as I write this but from now on I shall be building my session plans with activities in mind that will need the learning outcomes of the session, not simply building activities in order of what information I have to disseminate.

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