Course design

Course design requires consideration of the intended learning outcomes, content, structure and assessment.

Designing, or redesigning, a course should focus on creating a learning environment in which students can successfully meet learning outcomes, and thus course design needs to be tailored to the discipline and level of the course. Using a solid course design process will not only help you develop a new course, it will also help you teach the course for the first time, as well as review the course after it has been delivered.

Course design requires extensive planning – especially if you are designing a new course. Be sure to familiarise yourself with the relevant Lincoln University Policies and Procedures and Course regulation forms. All new courses go through a University approval process. All modified courses go through an approval process but depending on the extent of changes this may be within your Faculty/Division.

Before getting started with course design, you need to gather some background information to identify the contribution the course makes to the programmes offered at Lincoln University. Which Graduate Profile will the course contribute to? Which specific Graduate Profile attributes will the course contribute to? At what level will the course be offered? Are there other related courses that students will study before or after this course? Do other tertiary institutions offer similar courses? Will the course be accredited by a professional body? 

Once you have some background information, there are several steps to follow to design the course:

  1. Determine the learning outcomes
    What do you want students to learn by the end of the course? See our resources on Writing Learning Outcomes.
  2. Determine how to evaluate student learning

    How will you evaluate that your students have met the learning outcomes? See our resources on Assessment.

  3. Determine course content
    What are the main topics that need to be covered to help students meet the learning outcomes – consult widely. Arrange the topics in a logical order, grouping similar topics together to create modules.
  4. Determine the teaching approach 
    What course delivery approach will be used to help students meet the learning outcomes and complete the assessment? What type of class sessions will be used and how many? What active learning strategies will be included?
  5. Identify learning materials
    Decide which learning materials – eg, a textbook, selected readings, websites, videos, software, case studies – will best support the learning outcomes, assessment and content.

Once you have completed these steps you should be ready to prepare the Course Outline and document your course design in the relevant course regulation forms. Once your course has been approved, you can start developing teaching and learning materials, writing assessments, developing lesson plans and setting up an Akoraka | Learn course page.