Curriculum Design

Western Guide to Curriculum ReviewWestern Guide to Curriculum Review

Margaret McNay

Curriculum Review offers ideas about how to get started on the review process—questions to ask at the beginning of and during the process, suggestions about information to be gathered and how, issues to think about as you decide what to include in the curriculum, and ideas about how to teach the curriculum involving new and alternative pedagogies. Curriculum is not a simple matter; this guide is written to reflect some of the complexities of curriculum and, I hope, to be thought-provoking and challenging. I hope as well that it provides just enough of a step-by-step guideline to be helpful with just about any curriculum review project.




See also: Resources on Learning Outcomes and Course Design

Online Resources

Program Review and Curriculum Map Templates

Western's new Institutional Quality Assurance Process, with guidelines for review of undergraduate and graduate programs.

Ensuring the Value of University Degrees in Ontario - Guide to Learning Outcomes, Degree Level Expectations and the Quality Assurance Process in Ontario

Curriculum Development in Higher Education: Faculty-Driven Processes and Practices is a special issue in Winter 2007 of New Directions for Teaching and Learning with several excellent articles on curriculum change and review. The journal is available in the Teaching Support Centre and online through the Western Libraries catalogue.

The University of Waterloo has developed a curriculum mapping template that is consistent with the categories, subcategories, and sub-subcategories of the OCAV undergraduate degree level expectations for Honours degrees.

University Undergraduate Degree-Level Expectations Guidelines

OCAV Degree Level Expectations website contains background information as well as case study examples and sample syllabi.

Assessment methods for higher education

Authentic Assessment Toolbox

The Assessment and Test Construction Resources on the Teaching Support Centre website lists more resources, including workshop materials, presentations, articles and books available in the Teaching Support Centre library

Instructional Methods

Barbara Gross Davis’ Tools for Teaching (1993) is an excellent source of indepth advice on strategies and suggestions to improve teaching practice. Excerpts are on-line at and the full text is available through NetLibrary (accessible via the Western Libraries catalogue)

Journal Articles

For research on evaluation, see the American Journal of Evaluation. These two articles on evaluation theory are written by two of the most outstanding education writers of the last half century:


(available in the Teaching Support Centre)

Outcomes-Based Academic and Co-Curricular Program Review (2006) by Marilee Bresciani is an excellent resource on assessment of learning outcomes that shares the good practices of forty institutions.

Linda Nilson’s The Graphic Syllabus and the Outcomes Map : Communicating Your Course (2007) shows instructors how to communicate their course organization to students using a diagram, flowchart or concept map of the topical organization, and how to chart an outcomes map. More than two dozen examples from a variety of disciplines are included.

McKeachie’s Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research and Theory for College and University Teachers (2006) is a handbook of research-supported strategies to enhance teaching and learning.