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UNHE501 Curriculum Design, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education or UNMC540 Good Practice in Higher Education: Assessment Design

Unit rationale, description and aim

As a tertiary educator you need to support your students' learning in a digital space that is transformative, engaging, and flexible. To do this, you need to be able to identify and take advantage of what technology-enhanced learning can offer, critically evaluate these options and use these technologies to develop appropriate learning sequences. This unit helps meet this need by helping you to extend your scholarship of higher education into blended and online learning environments.

In this unit you will investigate different teaching technologies and digital resources, evaluate their usefulness using scholarly evidence, and make use of learning design approaches to plan learning sequences that incorporate technology and address a teaching challenge that you identify.

This unit aims to improve the learning outcomes of all the students you teach and help prepare them for digital workplaces and communities through the pedagogically informed selection and implementation of technologies for learning and teaching.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Identify the characteristics and functions of learning, teaching, or unit design technologies in higher education (GA5)

LO2 - Evaluate technology-enhanced learning from multiple perspectives (GA1, GA2, GA7, GA9)

LO3 - Plan tasks, using a scholarly approach, that use technologies effectively to develop students’ learning (GA5, GA9) 

LO4 - Prototype learning tasks or environments that incorporate digital or other technologies for specific aims (GA10) 

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include: 

  • accessibility and equity in technology-enhanced learning 
  • blended and online learning 
  • scholarship of technology-enhanced learning1 
  • technologies for learning and teaching 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Chickering and Ehrmann (1996, p.42) have said that “learning is not a spectator sport”. In other words, it needs to be active and to involve learners behaviourally in actions that support their learning. Thus, the learning and teaching strategy of UNHE505 aims to work with students in mathemagenic activities (“those activities which give birth to learning”3) by following the principles of Laurillard’s conversational framework (20024). This framework involves learners and teachers in discussion, adaptive actions, interactions with the learning environment, and reflection.  

The unit uses a design-based framework of inquiry that helps you to develop and evaluate learning activities incorporating technology. The unit work is structured so that its end product is a prototype of a learning sequence that is developed by you and informed by your scholarship of technology-enhanced learning. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome.  

Assessment in UNHE505 includes the following sequence of mathemagenic activities (for details, see Laurillard, 2002, p. 63): 

  • “apprehending the structure of academic discourse” (for example, by reading and summarising case studies of educational technology applications) 

  • “interpreting forms of representation” (working with learning designs) 

  • “acting on descriptions of the world” (for example, analysing and solving design problems in teaching units) 

  • “using feedback” (for example, giving and acting on peer and tutor review of designs), and 

  • “reflecting on goal–action–feedback” (using, for example, the Design Inquiry of Learning cycle).  

The rationale for this sequence of activities and assessment items is the observation that expert designers do not rush to a technical solution, but keep their options open to generate a greater number of creative responses (Mathias, 19935). By approaching this unit with a specific teaching improvement in mind, and systematically analysing the problem and the solution together, participants will build expertise in selecting technology-enhanced learning components at the same time as developing a practical learning resource. These skills can contribute the culture of excellence in teaching and enhanced learning experiences university-wide. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1 

Task on collecting and examining scholarship of technology-enhanced learning  

(for example, summary of an educational technology case study) 


LO1, LO2 

GA5, GA9 

Assessment Task 2 

Task on evaluating a technology-enhanced learning sequence  

(for example, peer review of a design for a learning sequence which incorporates technology) 


LO1, LO2 

GA1, GA2, GA5, GA7, GA9 

Assessment Task 3 

Task on creating effective learning environments that use technology, with scholarly support for design decisions 

(for example, designing, justifying and developing or prototyping a learning sequence which incorporates technology) 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA1, GA2, GA5, GA7, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Required reading 

Bower, M. (2017). Design of technology-enhanced learning: integrating research and practice. Bingley, UK: Emerald. 


Beetham, H., & Sharpe, R. (Eds.). (2013). Rethinking pedagogy for a digital age. New York: Taylor and Francis. [ebrary] 

Boettcher, J., & Conrad, R. (2016). The online teaching survival guide : Simple and practical pedagogical tips (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. [MyiLibrary] 

Bower, M., Dalgarno, B., Kennedy, G., Lee, M. J. W., & Kenney, J. (2014). Blended synchronous learning: A handbook for educators. Sydney, Australia: Office for Learning and Teaching, Department of Education. [PDF] 

Other references 

Kirkwood, A., & Price, L. (2014). Technology-enhanced learning and teaching in higher education: What is "enhanced" and how do we know? A critical literature review. Learning, Media and Technology39(1), 6-36. doi: 10.1080/17439884. 2013.770404 

Koehler, M., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK)? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70. 

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