Lightning Talk Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency Conference 2019

Partnerships for design - Collaborative curriculum: design and delivery (#5)

Linda Forbes 1 , Sonia Wilkie 1 , Ghaith Zakaria 1
  1. Victoria University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

In 2018, Victoria University launched the revolutionary Block Model to improve student retention, performance and satisfaction. 

The model required that the curriculum for every unit be redesigned in order to meet the principles of the model, the mode of delivery, and time-frames of delivery (McCluskey, Weldon, and Smallridge 2019).

To capitalise on the wisdom of the crowd, Design Teams were formed which comprised academic and professional staff and students from across the university. This ensured that a wide range of considerations were incorporated into the unit's design, thereby optimising and enhancing the education experience.

Each team consisted of Learning Designers, Librarians, Academics, Students, and Learning Advisers. who met twice weekly over 9 weeks  to discuss, design and develop the curriculum.

The individual contribution provided by each team member included (but was not limited to):

  • Learning Designers: Design team leader, implementation and project management of the design and development process
  • Librarians: Resourcing, information literacy, advice on copyright compliance,
  • Academics: Content specialists, accreditation compliance,
  • Students: ensuring that the student voice was heard regarding assessments, engagement, and deliver (Gibbons & Trifkovic, 2019)
  • Learning Advisers : linking study essentials appropriate to the unit


Whilst the individual contributions were critical to ensuring all parameters were incorporated, the success of the curriculum design arose from the design teams' collaborative brain storming design meetings, whereby the entire team proposed, designed, discussed, and developed all key curriculum and learning components such as:

  • Learning Design
  • Ideas for authentic assessments
  • Active learning strategies
  • Constructive alignment (Horizontally across units and vertically through the course)
  • Overall design factors, such as achievability, and engagement for both staff and students


A partnership approach enabled the design and delivery of units which embody active learning and engaging assessment tasks. Our colloborative curriculum design has many advantages, extending student engagement with learning, and ultimately, student success.

  1. Burke, M., Forbes, L., Murphy, J., Singh, S., Wilkie, S., and Zakaria, G. (2018). Librarians as partners in educational design: block mode design teams at Victoria University at the CAVAL CRIG Seminar 2018, Melbourne.
  2. Borland, R., McDonald, T., and Wilkie, S. (2019). Engaging staff with program redesign and blended learning in 2 large scale institutional projects in the proceedings of the THETA2019 conference, Wollongong.
  3. Gibbons, Jodie and Trifkovic, Aleksandra. (2019). Students as Co-creators in Curriculum in the proceedings of the HERDSA 2019 Conference, Auckland, NZ.
  4. Gibbons, Jodie and Trifkovic, Aleksandra. (2019). Students as Co-creators in Curriculum Design and Development for Tertiary Education in the proceedings of the STARS 2019 Conference, Melbourne.
  5. McCluskey, T., Weldon, J., & Smallridge, A. (2019). Re-building the first year experience, one block at a time. Student Success, 10(1), 1-15.
  6. Zakaria, G., Wilkie, S., McDonald, T., & Borland, R. Considerations for designing H5P online interactive activities. Open Oceans: Learning Without Borders, 543.