University of Alberta, Department of Biological Sciences

Course Review Information

Conducting a Course Review

When preparing a course or degree program review report there are a number of issues that may be considered. It may not be necessary or appropriate to consider all the issues suggested below depending on the nature of the course or degree program being reviewed and/or the nature of the review itself.

However, it is anticipated that a course or degree program review would give information about the general and specific knowledge, skills and attitudes that should be demonstrated by students at the completion of the course and evidence of how that learning was assessed. There should be evidence that the overall structure and sequence of the degree program and its composite courses had been evaluated. Finally there should also be evidence that general and specific evaluative information had been sought and considered from present and former students in the program or course and from other appropriate constituencies within and without the University.

CHECKLIST OF ISSUES AND MATERIALS FOR POSSIBLE CONSIDERATION IN COURSE AND DEGREE PROGRAM REVIEW DELIBERATIONS.

  1. Degree Program Considerations.
    1. What are the general objectives for the degree program?
    2. What general knowledge, skills and attitudes will be demonstrated by students completing the degree program?
    3. How do students demonstrate that they have achieved the general objectives?
    4. What evaluation of the present suitability of the degree program objectives was undertaken and what decisions were reached?
    5. Is the sequencing of courses in the degree program enhancing the development of the students?
    6. In general, are the most appropriate instructional strategies being used in the degree program? This could include an evaluation of the resources provided and the role of instructional technologies, from chalk to computer based simulations, in the degree program.
    7. In general, are the most appropriate assessment strategies being used in the degree program and is feedback to students provided promptly?
    8. Who was consulted from within and without the University on the present suitability of the general objectives of the degree program and what response was made to their input?
    9. How extensive was the survey of the teaching and learning literature appropriate to the degree program?

    10.  
  2. Course Considerations.
    1. What are the specific objectives for each course in the program?
    2. What specific knowledge, skills and attitudes will be demonstrated by students completing each course in the program?
    3. How do students demonstrate that they have achieved the specific objectives?
    4. What evaluation of the present suitability of the specific course objectives in the degree program was undertaken and what decisions were reached?
    5. Are the most appropriate instructional strategies being used in the courses in the program? This could include an evaluation of the resources provided and the role of instructional technologies, from chalk to computer based simulations, in the courses in the program.
    6. Are the most appropriate assessment strategies being used in the courses in the program and is feedback to students provided promptly?
    7. Who was consulted from within and without the University on the present suitability of the specific objectives of the courses in the program and what response was made to their input?
    8. If a "service course" is under review, what is the level of satisfaction with the course in the home faculties of the students taking that course?

    9.  
  3. Staff Issues.
    1. Were all members of the staff who contribute to this course or degree program actively involved in the review of the program and its component courses?
    2. How will the course and program review process enhance the satisfaction of faculty with their instructional role?
    3. How will the curriculum review process make the evaluation of teaching more objective?
    4. How will the review process enhance faculty satisfaction with their academic interactions with students?

    5.  
  4. Student Issues.
    1. How will student learning be enhanced as a result of this review?
    2. How will student satisfaction with the quality of the courses and programs be enhanced?
    3. How will academic interactions between students be enhanced?
    4. What conclusions have been drawn based on the examination of data on student enrolment, progress in the degree program and its component courses, and pass and grade frequency?
    5. What is the nature of support systems for "at risk" students in the program or its component courses? This would include students from minority and differently abled groups.
    6. Are the course and degree program curricula inclusive? Do they facilitate the best educational outcomes for all students, regardless of characteristics such as, amongst other things, their gender, race, culture, or language background?
    7. How will students be more satisfied with the course and program advising they receive as a result of the curriculum review?

    8.  
  5. Financial Issues.
    1. Have any changes to courses and programs been made or proposed on the basis of financial considerations rather than strictly pedagogical ones?
    2. What is the impact of course or program changes made or proposed for cost efficiency reasons on the quality of learning in the course or program?
    3. What resource limitations have restricted the scope of recommendations on changes to the courses or program?

    4.  
  6. Institutional Issues.
    1. Is there a match between the objectives of the course and degree program and the objectives of the institution?
    2. Were any persons with expertise in pedagogy and/or evaluation consulted in the preparation of the report?
    3. Has the review produced a plan of action for implementing its recommendations?
    4. Is a procedure in place to evaluate the success of the implementation of recommendations and communicate it through a short annual report?
    5. Are copies of all supporting documents readily available for inspection?
    6. Was a draft document considered by interested parties prior to the report being finalised?
    7. Where possible, do the course and program curricula promote environmental awareness and sensitivity among all members of the University community?
    8. Do the course and program curricula facilitate the development of Generic, Transferable or Employment Skills?
Additional Course Review Materials are available by clicking on the highlighted text. The site is Australian so remember that Course in Australia = Degree Program in Canada and that Subject in Australia = Course in Canada.

To help visualize how a course or program review might proceed, a Concept Map is available by clicking on the highlighted text.

The site also links to a search engine for education material.

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Further information on this topic can be obtained by contacting John Hoddinott.

University of Alberta, Dec 23, 2002.