When designing modules, it is important to consider learning and assessment within the module in the wider context of the Programme and how the modules contribute to staged development through the levels of the programme towards the Programme Learning Outcomes. Coherent approaches across a programme also help to reduce barriers to learning.
There are likely to be opportunities to establish approaches and ways of working in earlier modules and to build on these through later modules. A coherent approach is likely to require attention to aspects such as:
A consistent approach to the design of module VLE sites also adds coherence and reduces barriers to learning. Common ‘baseline’ approaches establish a framework for module sites that teaching staff can build upon and adapt to suit their module learning objectives and content. A baseline approach leads to consistent expectations, for example, that all sites will use the same terminology to describe the module outline. It is these consistencies in expectations that can reduce barriers to learning. Where a whole programme adopts the same baseline, students are able to use the different module sites more easily, by focusing on the module content rather than navigating the site.
Expectations can be managed by identifying common practices across modules, and indicating where and why these differ for modules that are not using similar practices. For example, if the programme team decides lecture slides should be provided in advance, a statement is present to set this expectation with students. If one module does not do this, a statement to the contrary is provided in that module’s site with the pedagogic rationale.
Baseline approaches are not prescriptive, but adaptable to different module needs. For example, a programme may contain modules which are taught through lectures and seminars, with other modules that are taught through workshops. Both modules will still have module outlines, reading lists and assessments. Similarly, both formats of the face-to-face sessions will be structured by weeks, or session numbers, with session topics and learning aims. It is the presentation and provision of module material that provides consistency, rather than the structure and content itself.