I've been working on a first year transition program aiming to reduce attrition, improve retention, smooth the transition to university and increase quality of learning for first year students at university and am the Assessment Design Coordinator ensuring quality in assessment design. Quite a large order considering all the variables that affect the design of courses and degrees.

I've worked as an educational designer prior to taking on this position and working on subject and course analysis as a precursor to design. As a long time designer in different areas, it seemed logical to analyse first, plan and design second before implementing changes. With the changes occurring in technology, new accrediting and regulatory bodies in the Australian higher education arena, and the resulting requirements as well government initiatives to support students in transition it appeared crucial in the present economic climate to have firm data behind any proposed changes. Nobody has time to waste!

The problem, how do we get the data? As I'd been doing a lot with constructive alignment (Biggs, 2008) it seemed a logical place to start to document design. A tabular form was developed where data about assessment and learning and teaching strategies were documented and initial analysis has been done. Now more data mining needs to be done.

Other pages in this wiki document my processes and support learning about subject and course design using the process of constructive alignment. It is a continual process of development, evaluation and reiterative improvement on reflection when developing any resource and these pages may continue to change as I and others add to them.


Biggs, J. (2008). Constructive Alignment. Retrieved January 31, 2012, from John Biggs: http://www.johnbiggs.com.au/constructive_alignment.html


Deborah Murdoch was the Academic Lead in the STAR (Student Transition and Retention) Program for the Bachelor of Information Technology in the School of Computing and Mathematics and is now the Assessment Design Coordinator, and is situated in the Courses Unit of the Faculty of Business. She holds a Bachelor of Education (Technology and Applied Studies) and a Master of Education (Info Tech). Deborah has experience as a high school teacher in information technology and food technology, as well as industry experience in commercial cookery. She has provided support, educational design and professional development in educational technologies and pedagogical practice in tertiary education since 2007.

In her role, she was responsible for the promotion and integration of First Year Experience Principles (Kift, 2009) into courses for the promotion of quality learning and improvement in retention of first year students. Academic Leads provide Faculty leadership around the first year experience, the intentional design of the first year curriculum, and the identification and support of students ‘at risk’ with a particular focus on low socio-economic students in particular, with wide reaching benefits to all students. Deborah also has a strong focus on mapping and analysis of learning for improvement of quality and compliance to standards and completes analysis of courses and subjects across the Faculty. As the Assessment Design Coordinator, she is responsible for quality assurance of assessment design and delivery across the faculty through the course design process.

These pages created by Deb Murdoch, past Academic Lead on the Student Transition and Retention Program at Charles Sturt University and Course, Subject and Assessment Analyst in the Faculty of Business
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