In 2016, a new University Education Strategy was launched which outlines what 'excellence in education' means to us and sets out our major objectives. The curriculum redesign initiative is a big step forward in making this vision a reality. By utilising our significant strengths, and demonstrating agility and responsiveness to the changing global environment, we will build on our existing high-quality learning, teaching, and student experience, ensuring our shared principles of excellence in education remain at the heart of all that we do.
We are committed to transforming our curricula and approaches to assessment, particularly where this will have rich and positive impacts, such as our postgraduate taught courses and in the first year of our undergraduate courses. In order to meet these objective we are:
- Reviewing our curricula, course structures, and modes of delivery, underpinning our approaches with high quality teaching and appropriate and sustainable resourcing.
- Seeking to diversify our forms of formative and summative assessment, whilst underpinning our approaches with a revised academic framework.
Key Principles for Transformation
The following principles can be used to guide the transformation of our UG and PGT courses:
Enthuse students for the subjects they choose to study and the university life they seek to lead, but also demonstrate clearly the ways in which the University of Bath develops and facilitates their learning experience and post-graduation experiences.
Build on existing success
Promote the known benefits of the University community and its wider networks, to include (but not be restricted to) the impact of Bath research and the application of knowledge to real-world settings; employability through distinctive placement experiences; learning and developing in a World Heritage City and the South West region; and a distinctive educational ethos.
Articulate a course-wide approach to learning
Design delivery and assessment from a coherent set of course-wide learning outcomes. Use viable, engaging and inspiring methods across the course's delivery and assessment to enable students to achieve those outcomes. Pay particular attention to the impact of design on transition into the first year of our undergraduate courses and into postgraduate study.
Embrace assessment for learning
Recognise that assessment motivates and develops individual knowledge and skills as well as validating student achievement. Plan assessment strategically so that it supports the achievement of overall course goals and makes the most of the resources we have across the institution.
Support the needs of all learners
Design inclusive curricula so that all students can develop a sense of belonging, purpose, and identity. Recognise the differing needs of students at all levels, particularly those who represent communities that may have been marginalised or historically under-represented in the discipline. Promote student integration into the learning community through supportive approaches to content and assessment.
Engage with research
Create opportunities for students to engage actively with, and contribute to, research communities in the University. Build cultures of research and inquiry within the curriculum from the outset, so that students become genuine partners in the production of knowledge rather than being passive consumers.
Embed citizenship and sustainability
Recognise the challenges presented by the changes to our broader physical and social environment. Consider how our curriculum might empower students to the roles they will play during their lives as global citizens. Develop mechanisms in the curricula and/or co-curricular realms to prepare them for these challenges.
Build on meaningful partnerships
Develop strategies that maximise the potential contributions of internal and external stakeholders, including those from industry and the professions. Work towards establishing students as full partners in the curriculum, co-creating delivery and assessment. Enable students to support their peers in innovative and mutually beneficial ways. Listen actively to partner organisations and find ways to engage them in education, including the development of practice-focused pathways.
Integrate professional and transferable skills
Embed opportunities for acquisition of discipline-specific, professional and transferable skills, encouraging critical, creative thinking in the curriculum. Enable students to capture their personal development through curriculum-embedded employability provision, helping them develop a clearer sense of their own skills, strengths and attributes. Strong partnerships with external stakeholders, such as employers and industry, to develop and shape our provision.
Enhancing the Curriculum Environment
Curriculum Transformation will provide opportunities to make genuine and meaningful improvements to the way we work and facilitate learning. Taking advantage of the opportunities we have to be progressive and forward-looking for the benefit of both staff and students requires us to:
Design towards staff and student wellbeing and work/life balance
Be aware of the intensity of assessment and its effects on our community. Adopt assessment-for-learning approaches that can enable us to be strategic about how, when, and why we assess students. Ensure that we use sufficient summative assessment to have confidence in the achievement of learning outcomes at various levels, and no more.
Create strong foundations for continuous improvement
Use curriculum transformation as the foundation for a course that is fit for the twenty-first century. Design with flexibility and adaptability to ensure that continuous improvement will be responsive to stakeholders and considered in the lifetime of the course.
Use University resources efficiently and effectively
Understand both the opportunities and constraints relating to learning and teaching, such as with space, and within the timetable. Think about how the course's use of space and modes of delivery can be effective for new generations of students.
Ensure there is space for broader learning activities
Build in the capacity for different learning activities and interactions. Find ways to utilise contributions from the Skills Centre, the Library, and other services as integrated parts of the course. Make the most of student and academic interaction.
Work creatively within flexible frameworks
Understand and work within the flexibilities that will be part of the new design and regulatory frameworks. Simplify course regulations for greater effectiveness. Tell a coherent and simple story about progression through the course that will be clearly understood by students.
Design a fresh approach to choice
Enable students to experience specialist areas while maintaining the overall coherence of a well-structured course and curriculum. Counter any over-assessment that may develop. Be creative about where choice may be most beneficial within the course assessment and/or study. Ensure choice early in the course does not limit later opportunities for student learning.