Guide to completing course outlines

How to write your course outline. A guide for instructors.

Your course outline is important, both in terms of attracting visitors to our website and for providing prospective students with sufficient information to allow them to make an informed enrolment decision. It is undoubtedly the most important element prior to delivery of the course itself. With that in mind, the course outline requires investment of sufficient time and thought to adequately articulate the rationale for its existence, what it aims to achieve, what our students can expect from the course and what will be delivered.

Course outlines may contain the following elements. The first four are mandatory for all course outlines.

Rationale

The rationale is a statement that:

  • Provides reasons for the course.
  • Captures the whole point of the course.
  • Justifies the course.
  • States the real world need for the course.
  • Is the single most important aspect.
  • Uses words like needs or requires.
  • Links directly to the Aims.

The rationale should take the form:

People in this area do certain things. Doing these things well requires certain knowledge, understanding and skill.

Examples

In order for business to operate successfully in today’s global market place, its practitioners will need to become knowledgeable about aspects of the international business environment.

Students wishing to be employed in the hospitality industry in Japan will need to have a thorough understanding of and fluency in appropriate terms of address in Japanese.

The effective implementation of programs and policies in early childhood education requires teachers to have sound knowledge of current theory and research in early childhood development.

Aims

The rationale leads directly to the Aims in the form:

This course aims to meet the needs/requirements identified in the rationale.

  • Aims are not the same as desired learning outcomes.
  • Aims should relate to the combined impact of the curriculum, the pedagogy and any assessment of the various elements.
  • They are broad and all encompassing – the big vision.
  • Aims are what you want to achieve for your students.

Examples

This course aims to make you knowledgeable about relevant aspects of the international business environment.

This course aims to develop your understanding of and fluency in appropriate terms of address in Japanese.

This course aims to equip you with sound knowledge of current theory and research in early childhood development.

Outcomes

  • Outcomes need to be student oriented, and should point to the knowledge, skills, competencies and attitudes of those students who successfully complete the course.
  • Outcomes are specific, behavioural, student-focussed statements.
  • Desired learning outcomes are what your students should achieve.

Each outcome must begin with a hash, followed by a space. Each outcome must be on a separate line.

Example

Upon successful completion of this course you will:

# Be aware of key institutions that operate in the Australian economy, and the roles these institutions play.
# Have a clear understanding of the relationships between a number of important macroeconomic and microeconomic variables.
# Be able to identify, analyse, and understand the importance of the key economic concepts and measures introduced in this course.
# Be able to evaluate, critically, some of the economic policies that aim to address contemporary economic problems.

Content

This section should describe the topics and content that will be delivered as part of the course. Each item must begin with an asterisk, followed by a space. Each item must be on a separate line. Related content may be grouped together and separated by topic headings that must commence with the characters h4. followed by a space.

Example

h4. Labour income
* Capital income versus labour income.
* Creation of a consumer and a labourer and the consumer revolution 1900 – 1920.
* Wage income at the top and the rise of super salaries.
* The structure of US inequality in 2010 vs. European inequality in 1910.

h4. The super-rich and the rest of us
* Capital income and wealth concentration.
* Forbes 400 rich list.
* Invisible wealth.

Audience

Describes the intended audience and any pre-requisites (suggested or mandatory) for attendance.

Delivery

Describes the delivery style of the course, such as lecture, seminar, tutorial, workshop or computer based training.

Prerequisites

Describes ay prerequisite requirements for attending the course, such as completion of a prior level or equivalent experience.

Text

Describes any prescribed text required as part of the course.

Reading

Describes any recommended or suggested reading.

Materials

Describes any materials provided as part of the course.