Aims of a curriculum design group at a university

This is a collection of rough ideas about what the overall aim should be for a curriculum design group at a University. In particular, a University like Central Queensland University.

The driver for this is that I’m now the “leader” of just such a group. A group that has been newly formed. We’re starting from scratch and need to figure out how, what and why we’re going to work. Obviously, this is very much a work in progress and required input and comments from a range of folk (one of the reasons for doing this on my blog).


Essentially CQU has been without curriculum design services for a number of years. This was picked up on by the AUQA audit of CQU which offered such comments as

AUQA recommends that Central Queensland University develop strategies to systematically embed its generic skills and attributes into the curriculum, teaching and assessment practices of the University such that the CQU experience is of a consistent quality and is comparable with universities nationally.

AUQA recommends that Central Queensland University encourage a more collegial approach to curriculum development, which will both stimulate and incorporate scholarship and research and philosophical discussions about quality education

AUQA recommends that Central Queensland University develop a systematic approach to encouraging and resourcing research-informed teaching

AUQA recommends that Central Queensland University increase its emphasis on academic professional development, via a variety of forms, especially focusing on such pedagogic issues as curriculum development and review, assessment practices and the teaching-research nexus


This question is much more important than it might appear. How people interpret what we do will influence what we can do. We need to have a consistent, simple message about what we do so we can simply spread the word.

The AUQA report focuses on curriculum design and the name of the unit in which we reside is the Curriculum Design & Development Unit.

This article from the British Medical Journal gives a good introduction to curriculum design. It’s definition of curriculum is one I like

If curriculum is defined more broadly than syllabus or course of study then it needs to contain more than mere statements of content to be studied. A curriculum has at least four important elements: content; teaching and learning strategies; assessment processes; and evaluation processes.

The advantage of this is that it encapsulates a lot of what we can/should do. The content section covers the tasks which the members of DTP and Rolley currently perform. Somewhat more problematically, it could also be seen to encapsulate video production. Evaluation also opens up some interesting missing roles.


I’d like to position CD&DU as a Professional Service Firm defined on this page as

A professional service firm applies specialist technical knowledge to the creation of customized solutions to clients’ problems.

We provide customised advice to CQU staff. How may the most effectively design their curriculum, given their context and the available resources?


Previous issues

  • Limited diversity in opinions
    Only the academic and the instructional designer were involved. If a team was involved, it was a couple of academics, typically from the same discipline
  • Use limited to a small collection of staff
    Only a small sub-set of staff made use of the service.

Existing issues

  • We’re a small group, limited resources
  • Uncertainty about connections/overlap with other groups


As top level aims, we should

  • Help staff develop the skills and confidence necessary so they can perform curriculum design themselves.
  • Provide an environment that encourages collaboration across disciplines.
  • Provide an environment that encourages implementation of good practice in L&T, an environment that makes it easy to do this.

Underneath those aims potentially fits the following

  • Be seen as academics who research.
  • Raise the visibility of our work and ourselves.
  • Make it ease to contact us.
  • Be seen as a one stop shop for preparation of course material
  • Treat print and online as two of a range of options

…there’s many more that should go here. Onto other things.

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