module specification

ED7136 - Curriculum Evaluation and Development (2019/20)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2019/20
Module title Curriculum Evaluation and Development
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 200
18 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
32 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
150 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 20%   Project proposal (c.1 200 words) for a subject-specific curriculum evaluation or development project
Coursework 20%   Peer Reviews Formative reviews of the draft project reports of two peers (c. 500 words each)
Coursework 60% 50 Project Report A final report (c.4 000 words, including project description updated from the original proposal) of the
Running in 2019/20
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North To be arranged -

Module summary

The concept of the curriculum brings together issues of teaching, learning, assessment, feedback and evaluation and the use of supporting technologies.  This module addresses the overarching and institutional context of teaching and learning in HE, and provides holistic frameworks for design and evaluation of the learning experience.  These frameworks are applied to projects related to the participants' own subject areas.

This module aims to enable participants to plan, deliver and appraise higher education courses in a professional manner.  It addresses the responsibilities of academic and related staff for planning, implementing and evaluating curricula in higher education.  Its intention is to foster critical analysis and the appraisal of professional work with respect to policy debates and management environments, curriculum theory and methods of educational evaluation.  The module examines the co-ordination of teaching, learning and assessment, and relates curriculum issues to wider patterns of continuity and change in higher education.

Prior learning requirements



The module will contain sessions that address the following issues:

1. Course design: frameworks, contexts and issues LO 1 - 3
· Key concepts in the domain of curriculum theory and practice.
· The elements and process of course design.
· The contextual factors which influence course design – including ideologies and policies, both national and institutional
· The contested and complex nature of curriculum development.

2. Evaluating courses: purposes, sources and methods LO 1, 2, 3 
· The rationale and purposes of curriculum evaluation.
· Approaches to and methods of evaluation.
· The selection of design or evaluation projects for this module.
· The integration of evaluation into projects.

3. CED project planning and preparation LO 3, 4
· The planning and implementation of projects
· Individual guidance on further reading and need for support

5. Peer review of two draft project reports LO 1, 2, 4
· The criteria for assessing final project reports, to be used by the peer reviewers
· The criteria for assessing peer commentaries and assessments of reports.
· VLE posting of peer reviews: the challenges presented in reviewing draft reports and writing  appropriate and constructive commentaries on them.

6. Curriculum Practice in Context LO 1, 2, 3, 4
· Progress on the projects, including how peer feedback (assessment 2) has been accommodated – an opportunity for sharing experience and for changing and improving the final reports.
· Ideas and insights gained from the CED module and project about key issues in curriculum evaluation and development, and the influence on practice of ideological and material context.
· An evaluation of the module and suggestions for improving it for future participants.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

As a project-based module, it involves considerable independent work on the chosen project - supported by tutor advice, learning resources and peer feedback - following the initial workshops which introduce the main concepts, frameworks and methods for designing and evaluating curricula (learning programmes).

Particpants produce a proposal for a curriculum design or evaluation project in their  subject area or specialist field, which, ideally, will enjoy the interest and support of their line managers and colleagues, and on which they receive tutor feedback.  Then they work on their projects and ‘publish’ a draft project report on the module VLE (WebLearn) for peer review. Thereafter participants reflect on peer commentaries, review progress in a centrally-organized workshop and complete their projects. The final project reports are posted on the VLE for assessment by the module tutors.

Besides being used for assessment submission and feedback, the VLE also provides extensive guidance on the assessment process, and links to numerous online resources – which are also demonstrated in class.

Both the peer reviews (exchanged online) and self-evaluation component of the final report provide opportunities for reflective learning, as do class discussions and exchanges among colleagues from different areas.

Learning outcomes

Participants should be able to:
1. Critically review curricula in terms of educational 'good practice' and specific benchmarks or sets of recommendations.
2. Explain professional practice in terms of educational principles and curricular issues  -  acknowledging the context and complex nature of HE courses.
3. Develop strategies for planning, implementing and evaluating curricula, informed by theoretical concepts and models
4. Conduct and complete a project as a scholarly case study of curriculum development and/or evaluation within their own subject or specialist domain.

Assessment strategy

Participants set out an intended focus, rationale, pedagogical approach and methodology in an initial Project Proposal which is tutor assessed with detailed formative feedback

Later, participants post on the VLE a draft project report (work in progress) for review by two peers, typically one from a cognate subject area and one from a different discipline; reviewees are expected to write a response to their reviewers as to how their feedback is/will be addressed. The actual formative Peer Reviews are tutor assessed against explicit criteria concerning understanding of the requirements for CED projects, curriculum issues/ practice and engagement with curiculum theory/literature

An account of the completed project (e.g. design and/or evaluation of a “course” = learning programme) and self-evaluation thereof is written up in the final Project Report - marked by the tutors, taking note of the earlier peer comments on the draft report


Core Texts
Warren, D (2016) Course and learning design and evaluation, in H.Pokorny and D.Warren (eds) Enhancing Teaching Practice in Higher Education (Sage), ch. 2
Toohey, S. (1999),  Designing Courses for Higher Education, Buckingham, The Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press
Hervey, J. [ed.] (1998),  LTDI Evaluation Cookbook, Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University

Other Texts (select):
Adams, M. & Brown, S. (eds) (2006) Towards Inclusive Learning in Higher Education: Developing Curricula for disabled students. Abingdon: Routledge
Bovill, C., Bulley, C.J., and Morss, K. (2011) Engaging and empowering first-year students through curriculum design: perspectives from the literature. Teaching in Higher Education, 16 (2) pp.197-209
Butcher, C. et al (2006) Designing Learning: From Module Outline to Effective Teaching. London: Routledge
Diamond, R.M. (1998) Designing and Assessing Courses and Curricula. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.
Fung, D (2017) A Connected Curriculum for Higher Education (UCL Press). See
Hounsell, D. (1999) ‘The Evaluation of Teaching’ in Fry, H et al, A Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Enhancing Academic Practice. London, Kogan Page, ch. 13

Jackson, N. et al (eds) (2006) Developing Creativity in Higher Education: An Imaginative Curriculum. Abingdon: Routledge
Light, G., Cox, R and Calkins, S. (2009) Learning and teaching in higher education : the reflective professional. London: Sage
Active Learning in Higher Education, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, Higher Education, Higher Education Quarterly, Higher Education Research and Development, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, Studies in Higher Education, Teaching in Higher Education