How to get started

Chaos sometimes might seem all around when trying to remember and incorporate all the elements into subject design. There’s a lot to consider and think about when designing so here’s some pages to help you get your ducks in a row with constructive alignment.

So what's a way of making order of the chaos of subject design?

One way to design is to use constructive alignment. In constructive alignment, students construct knowledge and skills in assessments that are in alignment with the learning objectives. It's a student centred approach that is outcomes focused, concentrating on what students do rather than what teachers teach. It requires a active, planned approach to bring it to fruition, to provide students with engaging, challenging, connected and meaningful experiences to construct their learning.

The process of constructive alignment ensures that subject learning outcomes, assessment tasks and student learning activities all align together incorporating:

External Standards

External standards are requirements by which we are measured by external bodies including government departments. These include:
  • TEQSA teaching and learning standards
  • AQF standards
  • Threshold learning standards
  • Professional standards

Graduate Outcomes

In 2016, CSU is incorporating a new set of graduate learning outcomes which reflect those skills which need to be embedded in all undergraduate courses. These are aligned with the revised graduate attributes (May 2013) which, while expressing the same skill set, are phrased differently as they are directed at our student audience. The new graduate outcomes are supported by comprehensive frameworks in the areas of:


While your pedagogical approach may vary depending on a range of factors, some core considerations are important regardless of context. These are encapsulated in the new set of pedagogical standards which are planned to go to Senate in May 2013. These pedagogical standards are supported by comprehensive frameworks in the areas of:

In addition, a rubric for the development of online subjects has been created that is based on research-based evidence of factors that positively influence student learning. These have been grouped around four core themes of ensuring your subject is challenging, meaningful, engaging and connected.
Further pages have been created to support learning and design for pedagogical approaches.

Course Design Approaches

  • Consideration of other subjects in the course, their content and assessment
  • Courses the subject serves
  • Assessment tasks across the course

The pages linked to from this wiki page or from the navigation menu at the right will help support you through the process of design. Refer to each page as you need but initially working through the pages sequentially will probably help the most. Some of these pages are still being developed but eventually I hope to link to information on each section I've identified in this list.

These pages created by Deb Murdoch, an Academic Lead on the Student Transition and Retention Program at Charles Sturt University and course and subject analyst in the Faculty of Business.
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