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Unit information: Higher Education Curriculum Development and Learning Design in 2021/22

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Higher Education Curriculum Development and Learning Design
Unit code AFACM0020
Credit points 30
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Mrs. Howson
Open unit status Not open




School/department Arts Faculty Office
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit has been designed to engage participants in developing their academic practice, with a particular focus on the design of and critical reflection on curricula, units and programmes.

The unit aims to:

  1. Enable participants to undertake and innovate in curriculum design, development and evaluation;
  2. Develop participants’ awareness of the wider HE context and the impact upon their practice;
  3. Enable participants to critically reflect on their practice in order to identify and investigate opportunities to innovate and enhance their teaching;
  4. Critically reflect upon and develop their academic practice, supporting them in demonstrating fulfilment of D2 of the UKPSF

Intended Learning Outcomes

Successful completion of this unit will enable participants to:

  1. Critically analyse and apply different models of and approaches to curriculum design in different learning contexts (PLO 1, 3; UKPSF A1, A3, A4, K2, K4, K6, V3, V4);
  2. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the wider context of HE (e.g. institutional, professional, national and institutional policies, processes and strategies) and the impact on your practice (PLO 2; UKPSF A1, A2, A3, K6, V4);
  3. Critically reflect on current practice to identify and investigate opportunities to innovate and enhance learning and teaching in higher education (PLO 1, 4; A5; V3);
  4. Critically reflect on how learning and development during the programme has enabled fulfilment of D2 of the UKSPF (PLO 5; UKPSF A5, V3, V4, K5).

Teaching Information

At the heart of the programme’s learning, teaching and assessment strategy is the aim of supporting participants in being effective, creative and reflective, evidence-based teachers and supporters of learning in Higher Education.

In order to do this the programme models a range of active, innovative and research-rich approaches to teaching in Higher Education. The teaching approach will:

  • be blended i.e. a mixture of online (live and asynchronous) and face-to-face sessions;
  • involve engaging participants in both current and contemporary research into teaching as well as undertaking research into teaching and their own practice themselves, modelling research-rich approaches that can be used in their own practice;
  • engage participants in a range of ways to support them in becoming critically reflective practitioners including:
    • introducing models of critical reflection to support them;
    • engaging participants in articulating their own approaches to teaching in the context of pedagogic literature;
    • involving participants in interdisciplinary peer support groups for participants to share practice and reflect on their practice and support each other;
    • ensure each participant has a Faculty-based disciplinary mentor to observe them teach and discuss and reflect on their developing practice;
  • draw on practical examples/disciplinary perspectives from across the University/disciplines;
  • include less formal interactions to support participants and provide space to nurture the community e.g. writing retreats, drop-ins;
  • engage participants in best practice in supporting their own students’ personal development, including a focus on personal tutoring and research supervision. 

The programme will also provide a range of tutor and peer feedback opportunities including a draft assignment plan. 

Assessment Information

Formative and summative assessment is focused on engaging you in undertaking/drawing on research relevant to your own teaching context, and critically reflecting upon, developing and innovating in your teaching practice. Assessment will involve:

Reflective portfolio:

a. 2 teaching observations. Pass/Fail and Must Pass. (LOs: 2, 3, 4)

b. Critical reflection (5000 words, 100%) drawing on: 

Desk-based/action-based research into your own teaching and disciplinary context to identify the potential for innovation and enhancement in your teaching. (LOs: 1, 2) 
Your approach to teaching, including planning for further development.  (LOs: 1, 2, 4)  


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. AFACM0020).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.