Curriculum matters mainly because of its potential impacts on students. The fundamental purpose of curriculum development is to ensure that students receive integrated, coherent learning experiences that contribute towards their personal, academic and professional learning and development.

These pages are intended to assist academic staff in the design and development of curriculum for topics, major and minor sequences of topics, and courses which contribute to Flinders graduate qualities. These qualities provide a key reference point for the Curriculum Development  process. For them to be realised in graduates, they must be related to the conceptual frameworks, language and practices of the student's field of study through quality learning experiences.

Flinders University Policy on Course and Topic Development, Approval and Management (Section 5.1) states:

Courses and topics should be designed, developed and delivered within a framework which comprises a specified curriculum, specified assessment arrangements, and clearly identified educational aims and learning outcomes. These elements should provide an educational framework which is clear and coherent, and which:

  • forms the basis for teaching and assessment activities; 
  • relates to the overall academic goals and objectives of the University;
  • is orientated towards the development of students as independent, lifelong learners;
  • maps the territory for students in useful ways, yet allows them room for their own exploration;
  • demonstrably constitutes a clear progression towards expertise in the discipline or field; and 
  •  makes explicit the generic and discipline-specific capabilities that are to be gained.

Curriculum development is a key process in determining the quality of learning and teaching that occurs within the University and hence the qualities of graduates.

Curriculum can be characterized in a number of ways:

  • curriculum as content - the subject matter to be taught
  • curriculum as experience - the planned and other experiences encountered by learners in educational contexts
  • curriculum as intention - statements of predetermined aims, objectives and outcomes, and planned learning experiences for students
  • curriculum as cultural reproduction - the passing on of the accepted knowledge, values and behaviours of a discipline, profession or society to the succeeding generation

Each of these partial images contributes to a more holistic characterisation of curriculum as:

All the planned learning opportunities offered to students and the experiences encountered by the students when the plans are implemented. The curriculum is the plans, practices and outcomes of the interaction between the student, the curriculum design (plans linking elements together) and the teaching staff.