Diagram showing the elements of constructive alignment

Principles of Programme Design

All taught programmes and modules at the University of Northampton are designed using the principles of constructive alignment. Very simply, this means that:

  1. your learning outcomes should clearly inform the students what they will be expected to know and be able to do by the end of the unit of study;
  2. your teaching and learning activities should be designed to support the achievement of those outcomes; and
  3. your assessment tasks are designed to enable your students to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes.

All of the rules that govern how programmes and modules at Northampton are designed, can be found in the University Modular Framework, which is contained in the Staff Handbook. The UMF is a continuous framework governing levels 4-8. It provides a framework for the design, structure, and assessment of courses. It also covers the relevant regulations (including supplementary regulations).

Useful Guidance

Have a look at the Downloads section on this page to find out more about constructing effective learning outcomes – which you can do using our award-winning COGS Learning Outcomes Toolkit. You can also find out more about designing effective group assessments, the maximum limits on assessment volume and an overview of how we mark student work.

The Programme Design Process at Northampton

Diagram of Programme Design stages at UoN

All programmes that are taught at the University of Northampton follow this cycle and there is support available for you at each and every stage.

Planning: This stage could include the design of brand new programmes and modules, or the redesign of existing programmes and modules following quality enhancement activity.

Quality Assurance: All of our programmes and modules go through a process of approval which is led by the Quality Unit. To find out more, please contact your Faculty Quality Officer.

Delivery: This is where your teaching occurs. Our Active Blended Learning approach means that this can happen in both face-to-face and online environments.

Quality Enhancement: Teaching staff are expected to regularly review the design and delivery of their modules and programmes in response to student feedback, achievement, student retention etc. You can find out more about the University of Northampton’s approach to quality enhancement here.

Student Engagement and the Student Voice

It is really important that our programmes and modules are co-designed with student input. In fact, it is only their feedback that tells you whether your designs are achieving what you intended them to. We would encourage you to consider how to incorporate the student voice at each stage of the programme design process. A number of options exist for this, including:

Proactive opportunities for students:

  • Inviting students to participate in course redesign workshops (CAIeRO)
  • Using students as panel members in Quality processes such as Validation, Periodic Subject Review (PSR) and Change of Approval

Reactive opportunities for feedback from students:

  • Making use of your Course Representatives
  • Feedback from Student-Staff Liaison Committees (SSLCs)
  • Annual Module Evaluation
  • Student Teaching and Representation Awards (STaR Awards) – led by the Students’ Union

For a more detailed insight on student engagement with Active Blended Learning, why not download and read our report on Student Engagement with ABL.