The Nightmare is Over: A Simple Guide to Design Effective Subject Outlines

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Citation:, 2017
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Higher education institutions worldwide are continuously implementing evidence-based educational approaches and quality control of subjects, courses, and programs. In this regard, a subject outline is a learning design document and an agreement between academics and students. It needs to address the subject structure, what are the requirements, assessment tasks, expectations and so on. A useful subject outline requires sound pedagogical and instructional approaches and to be clearly written, succinct, and conversational when possible. If information is missing or is not easily accessible, it will cause student confusion, unnecessary email traffic and potentially, loss of interest in the subject. Anecdotal reports indicate that students do not engage in the reading subject outlines and their attitude towards the usefulness of this document is not well-known in the literature. This paper covers five sections commonly used in subject outlines in Australian universities. Each of them presents evidence-based practices to help the design process considering educational taxonomies, constructive alignment, principles of active learning, authentic assessments and levels of feedback for learners. The aim of this paper is to guide early career academics new to teaching in higher education but also traditional academics moving towards a blended learning approach.
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