University of Technology Sydney

010043 Course Design and Assessment

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2024 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Education
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Pass fail, no marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject develops university teachers' capacities to design an effective learning environment for higher education students based on the UTS model of learning. Drawing on research on student learning, participants in the subject use the principles of constructive alignment (Biggs, 2003) to review their students' learning context, identify what should be taught and the likely impact of alternative methods for teaching. Using this method for achieving consistency between objectives and assessment, the participants plan a series of teaching and learning activities for one of their subjects. The design process explores a range of theory-informed strategies for university teachers to improve the design of their subjects in order to evaluate the effectiveness of their design choices.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

a). Describe the principles used in designing effective learning environments;
b). Analyse the design of a higher education subject to ensure alignment between the context for learning and intended outcomes;
c). Explain the design choices made by the subject designer by examining the educational and professional contexts affecting implementation of a subject;
d). Evaluate a subject design and suggest improvements consistent with the findings of the evaluation.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject engages with the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs), which are tailored to the Graduate Attributes set for all graduates of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

  • Reflexively assess complex issues related to curriculum, assessment and pedagogy, and generate effective scholarly and creative solutions (2.1)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This subject addresses the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes:

1. Professional Readiness
1.2 Graduates have skills in making informed decisions about teaching, subject design and assessment

2. Critical and Creative Inquiry
2.1 Graduates possess critical inquiry skills to reflect on and evaluate teaching and subjects
2.2 Graduates are creative in the design of learning experiences for their students

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject uses an underlying philosophy of inquiry based learning and reflective practice. Subject participants are encouraged to reflect on their own teaching and learning context and developquestions or explore issues of importance to that context. Throughout the guided inquiry, subject participants are supported to find and share relevant resources to address their question or issue. Initial low stakes reflection on a subject outline offers opportunity to incorporate feedback into following assessment tasks.

Face-to-face class time is highly interactive. Subject participants use classes to collaboratively workshop ideas for the design of subjects. They present ideas and issues in class and receive verbal feedback from peers and engage in conversations with peers around the literature on teaching and learning.

Peer learning is also used via peer review of subject designs and regular conversations with participants from different disciplines on translating theoretical concepts in education to suit different contexts for learning.

In some weeks, subject participants will be required to complete some pre-class activities which could include independent reading and online activities such as discussions, watching videos or other interactive tasks.

Content (topics)

The main topics covered in this subject focus on the use of constructive alignment to analyse and evaluate university learning designs. At the course level this involves concepts related to university policy frameworks and graduate attributes. At the subject level this includes ideas relate to subject objectives, authentic assessment and formative feedback. Other topics include innovative teaching and learning strategies such as flipped and online learning.


Assessment task 1: Subject Outline Analysis


b) and c)

Weight: 20%

600 words

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Insightfulness of analysis 40 b) 2.1
Clarity of explanation 30 c) .2
Relevance of Evidence 30 c) .2
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Subject Redesign


a) and d)

Weight: 20%

750 words

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Clarity of description 50 a) .2
Practicality of the evaluation strategies 50 d) .2
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 3: Course Design Reflection


a), b), c) and d)

Weight: 60%

2000 words

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Clarity of description 20 a) .2
Insightfulness of analysis 20 b) 2.1
Clarity of explanation 20 c) .2
Relevance of supporting literature 20 c) .2
Relevance of evidence 20 d) .2
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Minimum requirements

Participants in this subject are required to participate in 24 hours of concurrent teaching in higher education. Participants will provide evidence of participation in educational design activities and reflections related to course design and assessment issues. Participants who do not provide evidence of participation in work experience will not have their assignments assessed.

Required texts

Note: This required text is available online as an eBook in the UTS library.

Biggs, J. & Tang, C. (2011). Teaching for Quality Learning at University. Buckingham: SRHE and Open University Press. 4th edition. Chapters 6-10

Recommended texts

Ramsden, P. (2003), Learning to Teach in Higher Education. London: Routledge. 2nd edition. Chapters 8-10.


Barrie, S. (2007) A conceptual framework for the teaching and learning of generic graduate attributes. Studies in Higher Education 32(4)
Barrie, S., Hughes, C. & Smith, C. (2009) The National GAP: Key issues to consider in the renewal of teaching and learning experiences to foster Graduate Attributes : available
Biggs, J. (2014) Constructive alignment in university teaching. HERDSA Review of Higher Education, 1(July), 5-22.
Boud, D. & Falchikov, N. (eds.) (2007) Rethinking Assessment in Higher Education: Learning for the Longer Term London: Routledge
Cross, K. & Angelo, T (1988) Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for Faculty NCRIPTL Ann Arbor
Devlin,M. & Samarawickrema, G. (2010) The criteria of effective teaching in a changing higher education context, Higher Education Research & Development, 29 (2), DOI: 10.1080/07294360903244398
Falchikov, N. (2005) Improving Assessment Through Student Involvement. RoutledgeFalmer Gibbs, G. (1992) Improving the quality of student learning. Bristol: Technical and Educational Services Ltd.
Knight, P. & Yorke, M. (2003) Assessment, Learning and Employability. Buckingham: SRHE Open University Press

Leathwood, C (2005) Assessment policy and practice in higher education: purpose, standards and equity Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education Vol 30, No 3

Moon, J. (2002) The Module & Programme Development Handbook: a practical resource for linking levels, learning outcomes & assessment London: Kogan Page
Rodrigues, et al. (2007) The Usefullness of a Science Degree: The “lost voices” of science trained professionals. International Journal of Science Education 29(11)
Rust, C., Price, M., & O’Donovan, B. (2003) Improving students' learning by developing their understanding of assessment criteria and processes. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education Vol. 28, No. 2
Sadler, D. R. (2005) Interpretations of criteria-based assessment and grading in higher education Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education Vol. 30, No. 25
Sadler, D. R. (2010) Beyond feedback: developing student capability in complex appraisal Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education Vol. 35, No. 5 Stobart, G (2005) Fairness in multicultural assessment systems. Assessment in Education Vol 12, No 3

Toohey, S. (1999) Designing Courses for Higher Education. Buckingham: SRHE Open University Press