Centre for Teaching and Learning

Centre for Teaching and Learning
Centre for Teaching and Learning

Learning Outcomes; Course/Curriculum Design and Review

The CTL offers expertise, support, and resources to individuals and departmental groups in learning outcomes development and assessment, course and curriculum improvement, and provides assistance with the cyclical program review process. Resources and programming in this key area support the development and advancement of:

Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes are direct statements that describe the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind that students are expected to reliably demonstrate after a learning experience. Learning outcomes are described ‘as a basic educational building block’ and they provide a powerful framework to build a course/program. As such they cannot be separated from other parts of the curriculum such as assessment, and instructional strategies. At the CTL we can help you:

i) develop effective learning outcomes (at the course and program level),
ii) design suitable assessment strategies and determine acceptable evidence of student learning, and
iii) plan instructional activities and learning experiences that are likely to ensure the achievement of your identified learning outcomes.

Course Design Express

Inspired by our signature Course Design@Queen’s Institute, Course Design Express is an abridged program designed to fast track your course planning efforts. Participants will apply principles of backward design, constructive alignment, and universal design for learning to develop or re-design of one of their courses. Principles of course design will be used to inform all instructional and assessment decision-making.

The program will kick off on the Monday, at which point participants will receive access to an onQ site. Here, participants will work through a series of five flexible blocks. Each block takes about one hour to complete. Participants are encouraged to work through all five blocks across the week, ending their work by the Friday.

Learn more about Course Design Express.

Curriculum Design and Renewal

"Good novels, if we are ready for them transform us. Good curricula should have the same effect" -Overly & Spalding, 1993

Curriculum can be defined as a “web of interrelated and aligned activities” working together to achieve certain learning outcomes. Simply stated, curriculum is a “plan for learning” (Thijs & van den Akker, 2009). Curriculum development is a multi-step, ongoing, and cyclical process aimed at designing an effective curriculum. For some departments/units the process is initiated following a program review; for others, their interest stems from the recognition that a revitalization of their current curriculum is needed or a new program needs to be developed. If your department or school is engaging in a curriculum design or renewal, we can provide facilitation of curriculum committee meetings, guidance on establishing your unique program parameters and developing curriculum maps, and workshops to support educators in the move to a new and/or improved curriculum. 

Learn more about Curriculum Design and Renewal.

Cyclical Program Reviews (QUQAPs)

Queen’s University Quality Assurance Processes (QUQAPs) for approving and reviewing academic programs have been in effect since September 1, 2011. Cyclical Program Reviews (CPRs) are essential to ensuring quality in all academic programs, scholarship and research. CPRs provide an opportunity for academic programs to articulate or update their degree level expectations (DLEs) and discipline-specific learning outcomes. The goal is to ensure that Queen’s existing and new undergraduate, graduate and professional programs continue to offer students learning experiences that are transformational, inspiring, and intellectually challenging. At the CTL, we can provide support in completing the self-study template, which is one of the most major components of the cyclical program review. Specifically, we can offer:

  • support in developing/revising/reviewing your curriculum map
  • guidance on establishing your unique program parameters
  • workshops on developing effective program and course-level learning outcomes and aligning those with the degree-level expectations
  • assistance in developing a long-term assessment plan
  • support in facilitating a curriculum/cyclical program review meeting/retreat
  • assistance with gathering (including facilitating focus groups) and interpreting evidence

Learn more about Cyclical Program Reviews (QUQAPs).

Learning Outcomes Assessment Project

Queen's is one of a consortium of three universities (including University of Guelph and University of Toronto) and three colleges, funded by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) to assess transferable learning outcomes. Learning outcomes are statements of what a learner is expected to understand, value, or demonstrate after completion of a process of learning. The Learning Outcomes are measurable, and communicate expectations to learners about the skills, attitudes and behaviors they are expected to achieve after successful completion of a course, program or degree. Accurate assessment of learning outcomes is an essential component of competency-based education. This project aligns well with Queen’s Academic Plan, which emphasizes the development of fundamental academic skills, transferable skills that span a range of disciplines and are essential for professional practice.

Learn more about Learning Outcomes Assessment Project.