Unit of study design

Coordinators' Responsibilities   Designing UoS content   Support and equity in UoS design
Before semester tasks        

Responsibilities of coordinators when preparing the unit of study

Understand exactly what the department, or faculty, requires of you by liaising with the chair of discipline, and relevant program directors, to determine the specific requirements and expectations.

Requirements may include:

  • a pre-set number of number of lectures and tutorials of a specific duration.
  • a pre-set student workload and preferred forms of assessment (eg: essays, exams, etc).
  • a series of learning themes or modalities that the unit of study (UoS) must cover, which may be co-requisites that other UoS students take in parallel with yours, and/or which may be pre-requisites for students moving into a consecutive UoS. See UoS alignment.
  • reinforcing student’s responsibilities in the unit of study. (See Staff/student responsibilities).
  • implementing good practice learning and teaching through the program’s activities and assessment, and ensuring the learning and teaching (L&T) objectives are met by the teaching team.
  • balancing expectations of staff regarding the UoS and the curriculum, and establishing shared expectations between students and teachers.

The UoS coordinator’s tasks before the semester commences

  1. Updating the UoS in response to previous feedback. For information on ways to incorporate response to previous evaluation in order to ensure best practice, see Incorporating evaluation.
  2. Designing UoS content which involves considering learning outcomes and the constructive alignment of UoS activities, tasks, assessment, and so on. These are then situated within the context of the overall program/curriculum. See UoS alignment.
  3. Preparing learning activities which include face-to-face activities as well as online or eLearning. See Blended (e)Learning.
  4. Preparing assessment which involves designing and scheduling assessment tasks and exams. See Assessment tasks.
  5. Organising teachers, whether these are sessional staff such as tutors and demonstrators, or team teachers and service teachers from within or outside your faculty. See Leading a teaching team.
  6. Organising timetables and venues for lectures and tutorials, demonstrations, and so on. This also involves monitoring enrolment numbers. See Timetabling and venues.
  7. Developing the semester schedule which details weekly learning content and assessment dates. See Semester schedule.
  8. Ordering reading material and other teaching resources needed in the unit of study. See Reading materials.
  9. Organising marking, including any marking of assessment tasks done by others in the teaching team. See Leading a teaching team and Marking during semester.
  10. Drafting a budget or negotiating budgetary needs, if required by your department. See Budgeting.
  11. Preparing the UoS outline so that it communicates clear expectations for student learning and assessment practices. See UoS outline preparation.
  12. Activating your eLearning site. See Blended (e)learning.
  13. Preparing the first few classes. See Teaching preparation.
UoS Design

Designing the UoS content

  • Start with learning outcomes. Describing what the students should be able to do when they have completed your UoS will help you to focus on the most important aspects of learning that must be addressed.
  • Re-use learning activities, course content etc, from previous versions of the unit wherever possible and appropriate. Adapting well-designed existing material to suit your teaching context can save you a lot of preparation time – creating a whole new unit of study can involve a lot of work.
  • Identify content that will provide the foundation material for your students to complete their assessments, and that will enable students to use learning outcomes as a way of making sense of the content.
  • Make it meaningful for students – focus on developing appropriate learning activities and helpful assessments that influence, motivate and inspire students to learn. See UoS alignment.
  • Consider integrating research from your discipline area into the UoS, where beneficial and possible.

Support and equity issues when designing the UoS