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Evaluation for Excellence Toolkit: Peer Curriculum Review

The design of a course curriculum can be reviewed at programme or module level.

Peer curriculum review can:
– Facilitate collaborative and joined-up development of a programme
– Lead to more productive outcomes and enhancements

PREPARATION: Sharing moduleoverviews and providing access toteaching materials.
TIMING: A curriculum can be peer reviewed before, while or after it runs.
PEOPLE: Even for single module reviews, involving several colleagues enables a richer view.
EQUIPMENT: Programme specs; module overviews;sample materials; student andstaff feedback.
Full review of a programme is important for quality assurance and enhancement, but can be resource-heavy and time-consuming,and tends only to occur periodically (typically every three years).

Smaller scale and more regular peer review of module curricula can enable a more agile and responsive approach to your course design and teaching.
Working with programme colleagues, revisit the learning outcomes for the module(s):
What should students know, value and be able to do by completion?
Do these aims needto be revised?
Do your learning outcomes, teaching activities, and assessments align (constructive alignment)?
What might need to change? Why?
Revisit your curriculum through different lenses. Together, ask how far is the curriculum:
What and whose knowledges are privileged? 
Whose voices are occluded?
Might a more diverse student cohort require revised assessments, tasks and/or delivery?
Employability linked? 
Can you develop the transferable skills in the course more fully?
With colleagues teaching the same programme, revisit your course in the wider context:
What part does your module play in developing the knowledge and practice of the discipline?
Are there repetitions, overlaps, conflicts or synergies?
Do module(s) work together to realise desired programme outcomes?
What changes might be needed as a result?
Does the current ordering of modules still realise programme aims? 
Should a module now be moved, e.g., to enable an assessment task to serve as preparation for a later, higher-stakes assignment? Consider such questions both within and across terms / years of study.
Compare the structuring of your module(s) with that of a colleague or two. What principles guide their / your choice of content, and how is this sequenced? 
What are students asked to do before, during and after class? Why? 
What might the effectsof making changes be?
Consider enriching your peer curriculum review process with other perspectives. Draw fresh inspiration from the module narratives, designs and assessments of close colleagues. Experiment with peer review with colleagues from other disciplines.
Download a full colour version of the recipe cards.Download Recipe Card (PDF)
For More information

For a discussion of how peer curriculum review can feed into curriculum redesign, please contact DCAD’s Learning Designers: