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UNHE500 - Learning and Teaching in Higher Education OR UNMC520 Improving Learning and Teaching in Higher Education


UNHE501 - Curriculum Design, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education

Unit rationale, description and aim

As a tertiary educator, your knowledge, comprehension and skills in curriculum design are fundamental to your professional role. Building upon your understanding of adult learning and teaching foundations and improved practice from UNMC510 and UNMC520 respectively, in this micro-credential you will look to improve and justify the constructive alignment of the curriculum in a unit you teach. In doing so, this will make you aware of the principles and good practice in curriculum design. You will examine, reflect on and justify the use of these curriculum design principles in relation to your own curriculum and that of others in order to help you to develop a basic understanding of them. You will learn each step progressively in a scholarly way basing good curriculum design principles on evidence. Along with critical reflection, these skills are vital in developing your scholarship of teaching and academic leadership. Therefore, this micro-credential aims to develop your knowledge, comprehension and application of skills in curriculum and assessment design, and to gain an understanding of educational evaluation practices. 

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 - Communicate knowledge and comprehension of the principles underpinning the need for a unit rationale (GA3, GA5)

LO2 - Using an evaluation strategy, describe and justify the curriculum design in a higher education unit of study in a scholarly way (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8)

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


Topics will include: 

  • Curriculum design principles such as constructivism and constructive alignment
  • The concept of curriculum and curriculum models.  
  • Good curriculum design principles. 
  • Policy matters relating to curriculum design.  
  • The concept of evaluation and evaluative critique of curriculum  

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Participants in this micro-credential are predominantly academics whose geographical location is widespread. These participants are adults, all of whom are qualified with at least one tertiary degree. Participants have expertise that collectively spans the full range of disciplines taught by a university. Their experience in tertiary teaching is diverse. Notwithstanding that some participants have decades of experience as tertiary teachers resulting in considerable ‘practice wisdom’, and some participants bring formal disciplinary expertise in higher education with a scholarly base. All participants in this micro-credential will however have completed UNMC510 and UNMC520 (or the equivalent) and will therefore have acquired a very good foundational knowledge of learning and teaching foundations in higher education. Further they will have developed a very good understanding of the key concepts, principles and theories in key higher educational literature, and will have applied this to an analysis and improvement of their own teaching.  

This micro-credential builds on this foundation by helping all participants to progressively develop their knowledge, understanding and skills in curriculum design through a lens of an evaluation of educational programs. As with the preceding micro-credentials this developmental progression needs to be informed by learning and teaching foundations in a higher education context, the needs and circumstances of their students, institutional mission and its teaching and learning policies, and other governance requirements in the higher education sector.  

This micro-credential is delivered using an online mode of delivery, and will be facilitated primarily through online forums and webinars. It capitalises on the maturity and capability of the participants, their understanding and knowledge of learning and teaching foundations from UNMC510, extending their comprehension from critiquing their own teaching in UNMC520, and it provides equitable access to a full provision of learning experiences within which a community of scholars can continue to be developed.  

This online engagement will be supplemented by telephone and email communication as requested by individual participants. Individualised textual feedback on your formative and summative assessment tasks is provided to support your continuing development and refinement of your project as you progress in this micro-credential. 

The micro-credential is structured as a progressive, constructive, developmental narrative that supports participants’ learning through a sequence of three overlapping learning stages. In each stage, the nature of the learning and the nature of the teaching supports provided are different but complementary. Each stage builds on the next so that learning from one acts as necessary foundation for the next.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to best support the learning of participants in this micro-credential, the assessment strategy adopts a constructivist approach that progressively supports achievement of, and assessment of the learning outcomes. The assessment strategy in this micro-credential consists of a developmental sequence of two tasks that supports the educational purpose of each of the three stages described mentioned above. The first of these is formative, to scaffold participants’ learning. The second is summative. These will progressively assess the learning outcomes which are in the same constructive developmental sequence.  

The first (formative) assessment task comprises an activity that relates to very good knowledge, comprehension and skills in relation to curriculum design. This task relates primarily to scaffolds achievement of learning outcome 1.  

The second assessment extends the thinking from the first task in a way that allows participants to apply their understanding of the inter-relationships between learning and teaching foundations in the educational literature to the redevelopment and justification of a curriculum design. This must use the participants’ knowledge and conceptual understanding of the principles and theories contained within the scholarly educational literature related to curriculum design practices. This task relates mostly to the achievement of learning outcome number 2, but builds on learning outcome 1, and assesses both.  

It should be noted that this micro-credential is Pass/Fail and as such there is no grade allocated to assignments. In order to pass this micro-credential, you are required to:  

  1. Submit a credible attempt for each assessment item  
  2. Demonstrate a passing standard (or better) for the summative assessment task 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Formative assessment 

Write a critique of a unit rationale within one unit outline, referring to adult learning and curriculum design principles and citing appropriate published literature. If you cannot find any components of your chosen unit outlines that represent a rationale, then draft one – again, citing appropriate published educational and curriculum design related literature  

Note: The unit you pick should preferably be yours or one that you teach into as it will be the focus of the subsequent assignment. 

Guide length: between 1000 and 1200 words. Not including the reference list. 

For feedback


GA3, GA5

Assessment Task 2: Summative assessment 

Utilising the concepts of constructive alignment, curriculum design principles, and referencing appropriate published literature write a critique of the following components of one Extended Unit Outline (preferably your own or one that you teach into): (1) Unit rationale, (2) Unit aim statement, (3) Learning Outcomes, and (4) Learning and Teaching Strategy 

Next, using principles of curriculum design, learning and teaching foundations, and appropriate published literature particularly related to curriculum design, re-develop and justify the same four components of the EUO. This asks you to write the best possible unit outline you can come up with. 

Guide length: between 2000 and 2500 words. Not including the reference list. 


LO1, LO2

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8

Representative texts and references

Required text 

No text is required, but there are several required and suggested readings. Several key readings have been made available through the University’s copyright library Leganto which can be found in the Required and recommended readings tab in LEO. 

Recommended and suggested readings 

Angelo, T. (2012). Designing subjects for learning: practical research – based principles and guidelines. In University Teaching in Focus: A learning-centred approach. Lynne Hunt and Denise Chalmers (Eds.), pp.93-111. ACER Press. 

Biggs, J. (2014). Constructive alignment in university teaching: HERDSA Review of Higher Education1, 5–22. 

Biggs, J. B., & Tang, C. (2011). Teaching for quality learning at university, 4th ed. McGraw-Hill Education, London. 

Boud, D. & Associates. (2010). Assessment 2020: Seven propositions for assessment reform in higher education. Sydney, Australian Learning and Teaching Council. 

Christie, M. & Asmar, C. (2012). Indigenous knowers and knowledge in university teaching. Ch. 13 in University Teaching in Focus: A learning-centred approach. Lynne Hunt and Denise Chalmers (Eds.) ACER Press. (214-232) 

Conole, G. (2014). The 7Cs of learning design – a new approach to rethinking design practice. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Networked Learning 2014, pp.502-509. 

Entwistle, N. (2009). Teaching for understanding at university: Deep approaches and distinctive ways of thinking (Universities into the 21st century). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.  

Fry, H., Ketteridge, S., & Marshall, S. (2008). A handbook for teaching and learning in higher education: Enhancing academic practice. Routledge, London. 

Grace, S. (2009). Inclusion and diversity: Meeting the needs of all students. New York: Routledge. 

Hounsell, D. (2009). Evaluating courses and teaching. In H. Fry, S. Ketteridge & S. Marshall (Eds.), A handbook for teaching and learning in higher education: Enhancing academic practice, 3rd ed., pp. 40-57. Routledge, London. 

Huitt, W. (2011). Bloom et al.'s taxonomy of the cognitive domain. Educational psychology interactive22

Hunt, L., & Chalmers, D. (Eds.) (2013). University teaching in focus: a learning-centred approach. Routledge, London. 

Knowles, M. S., Holton III, E. F., & Swanson, R. A. (2015). The adult learner: The definitive classic in adult education and human resource development. (7th ed.). Routledge, London. 

Krathwohl, D. R. (2002). A revision of Bloom's taxonomy: An overview. Theory into practice41(4), 212-218. 

Meyers, N. M., & Nulty, D. D. (2009). How to use (five) curriculum design principles to align authentic learning environments, assessment, students’ approaches to thinking and learning outcomes. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education34(5), 565-577. 

Nicol, DJ., & Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2016). Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education, (31)2, 199-218. 

Norton, L. (2009). Assessing student learning. In H Fry, S Ketteridge & S Marshall (Eds.), A handbook for teaching and learning in higher education: enhancing academic practice. 3rd ed, pp.132-149. Routledge, London. 

Phelan, L. 2012). Interrogating Students' perceptions of their online learning experiences with Brookfield's Critical Incident Questionnaire. Distance Education33(1), 31-44. 

Potter, M. K., & Kustra, E. (2012). A primer on learning outcomes and the SOLO taxonomy. Course Design for Constructive Alignment, 1-22. 

Prosser, M. & Trigwell, K. (2014). Qualitative variation in approaches to university teaching and learning in large first-year classes. Higher Education67, 783-795. 

Race, P. (2014). Making learning happen: A guide for post-compulsory education. Sage Publication, London. 

Race, P. (2019). The lecturer's toolkit: A practical guide to assessment, learning and teaching. 5th ed. Routledge, London. 

Smith, C. (2008). Building effectiveness in teaching through targeted evaluation and response: Connecting evaluation to teaching improvement in higher education, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education33, 517-533. 

Stefani, L. (2009). Planning teaching and learning: Curriculum design and development. In H. Fry, S. Ketteridge & S. Marshall (Eds.), A handbook for teaching and learning in higher education: Enhancing academic practice. 3rd ed., pp.40-57. Routledge, London. 

Talukdar, J., & Poulomee. (2013). Prospects of the exploration of a hidden Curriculum in Australian Higher Education. Learning and Teaching6(2), 19-31. 

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