Create and update unit guides

Create and update unit guides

Unit guides must be included in your iLearn units. It is through the iTeach system that you will write and publish your unit guides

Creating a unit guide can be a complex process. To simplify it for you we have provided some easy-to-follow quick guides below.

Adding staff contacts

  1. Log into iTeach
  2. Click on My unit guides.
  3. Click Edit for the unit you wish to update.
     
  4. Click on the down arrow to open the Staff contacts section if it is not already open.
     
  5. Click Add a staff contact, or if you are updating your own details click on the  icon.
     
  6. In the Name field, enter the staff member’s name. You will notice that the system will try to predict the name you are entering. Once you find the right person, select by clicking on their name.
  7. In the Description field, enter the staff member role for this unit.
  8. Continue to enter the staff member’s details of Email, Preferred contact, Office location and Consultation hours.
     
  9. Click Save.
  10. Click Add a staff contact again to add additional teaching staff.

Writing learning outcomes

What are learning outcomes?

A learning outcome is a clear and specific statement of what students are expected to learn in a unit and to be able to demonstrate at its completion.

Why do I need learning outcomes?

Learning outcomes are the essential building blocks for the curriculum. Once you know what you want your students to learn (the learning outcomes), then you can work out things like the methods and activities that will encourage them to attain the learning outcomes (i.e. your learning and teaching activities), and also how you would measure the extent or standard to which the students achieved the learning outcomes (i.e. your assessment tasks).

For students, learning outcomes are a point of reference about what they are expected to learn in the unit. This can be helpful to them in anchoring or guiding their study and helping to prepare for assessment. Learning outcomes thus:

  • Explain what students are expected to learn in the unit of study
  • Help in determining the teaching and learning activities and methods
  • Assist in designing appropriate assessment tasks
  • Guide students in their study

Steps for constructing a learning outcome

  1. Start by thinking about what students will be expected to learn in your unit. Think about the outcomes for the unit in the context of the whole program.
     Tip: Discuss your learning outcomes with colleagues. This will help to ensure their viability and that there is progression and coherence between units in a program.
  2. Think about how to finish the sentence: ‘at the end of this unit of study, students will be able to….’
  3. Choose an action verb. The verb indicates to the student what it is they are expected to be able to do. An action verb is something your students can actually do like: ‘identify’, ‘describe’ or ‘differentiate’. More passive verbs such as ‘know’, ‘understand’, ‘have an awareness of’, ‘be familiar with’, or terms like ‘competency in’, may be useful in thinking about the overall aims of the unit, but learning outcomes need action verbs. For instance, the overall aim might be for students to be able to understand conversational Spanish, but the learning outcome for your unit might be for students to be able to translate a conversation about everyday things into English.
     Use: Action Verbs (something your students can do or perform)


     Avoid: Know, understand, have an awareness of, be familiar with


     Tip: Want an alternative to ‘understand’? You could use: interpret, exemplify, classify, summarise, infer, compare, contrast, translate, map, explain.
  4. Relate the action verb to the content and skills a student will specifically learn in your unit. The resulting learning outcome will then help in determining the learning and teaching activities for the unit. In the example above, because the learning outcome asks the students not only to understand but be able to explain the applications, it becomes clear that the learning and teaching activities will need to be designed to ensure students have not just a passive but an active understanding. 
  5. Ask how will I know that students have achieved this in my unit? How will I be able to measure it? It is difficult to assess ‘understanding’ and ‘appreciation’. This is why you need an action verb. Choosing an action verb also helps to set a standard so you can measure achievement and differentiate between performance that constitutes a Fail, Pass, Credit, Distinction or High Distinction.

Two things that are not to be confused with learning outcomes

  1. Assessment tasks. ‘Write an essay’ is not a learning outcome, unless you’re teaching a course on essay-writing. The same is true of ‘conduct a literature search’.
  2. Learning and teaching activities. How you are actually going to go about helping the students to learn something. Activities like workshops or seminars are not learning outcomes.
     Keep your learning outcomes short. Use one verb in one sentence for learning outcome. Don’t try to combine several things you want your students to do into one learning outcome. Use language that your students can understand. Avoid jargon and acronyms.

How many learning outcomes should I include?

There are no hard and fast rules, but bear in mind that each learning outcome you include has to be achieved and assessed in your unit. As a general guideline, between four and six learning outcomes is about right.

Distinguishing between levels of learning

Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives is frequently used for writing learning outcomes, since it provides a ready-made structure and list of verbs. As the Taxonomy provides useful guidance about the difference between learning outcomes that encourage ‘lower order level thinking’ and those that encourage ‘higher order level thinking’, having the taxonomy to hand when writing your learning outcomes will save time and help you focus on the learning you wish to support.

The learning outcomes for your unit may include cognitive skills at any of these levels but there is generally a progression through a program as the learning outcomes become more sophisticated, building on those from previous units.

Learning outcomes for graduate capabilities

Learning outcomes in your unit will also contribute to the graduate capabilities which describe the overall aims of a program. Graduate capabilities are meant to be taught across a whole program, so not all of Macquarie’s graduate capabilities will be reflected in your unit or mapped to your learning outcomes.

To update the learning outcomes section:

  1. Log into iTeach
  2. Click on My unit guides.
  3. Click Edit for the unit you wish to update.
    Content Custom Selection 1 
  4. Click on the down arrow to open the Learning outcomes section if it is not already open.
     
  5. Click Add a learning outcome.
     
  6. Enter a Learning outcome description. This is the learning outcome to be displayed in the unit guide. It is not necessary to number your learning outcomes as this will be done automatically in the published guide.
     
  7. Click Save.
  8. Repeat steps 5 to 7 to add additional Learning outcomes.
     Enter the learning outcomes as one per line. If copying from other systems, copy one-by-one.

  9. Click on the appropriate icons in the Actions column to edit , delete  or move  an added Learning outcome.
     Tip: Did you know you can also choose to include your learning and teaching activities in your unit guide and map them to your learning outcomes? It’s optional but can be useful.

Creating assessment tasks

Principles

Assessment is a process for evaluating students' achievement of learning outcomes and determining the effectiveness of teaching. A well-designed assessment will also improve student learning and development.

Assessment tasks should align with learning outcomes and be linked to graduate capabilities. The tasks can take on a variety of forms including essays, portfolios, written reports, group discussions, projects and so on. It is important that the assessment task is related to specific learning outcomes; is set at the appropriate level; and suitable for the time and effort required. In developing assessment tasks we must include both formative as well as summative assessment so that students have a chance to practice the learning required.

Resources

To update the assessment tasks section:

  1. Log into iTeach
  2. Click on My unit guides.
  3. Click Edit for the unit you wish to update.
     
  4. Click on the down arrow to open the Assessment tasks section if it is not already open.
     
     Every unit should have a minimum of 3 assessment tasks and no single assessment task should be worth more than 60% of the total assessment of the unit. For more information on assessment tasks please refer to the Assessment Policy.
  5. Click Add an assessment task.
     
  6. Enter a Title. It can be up to 30 characters.
  7. Enter a Task type from the available options. If your task type is not listed then it can be added. The task type does not appear in the published unit guide.
  8. Enter the Weighting percentage. This represents how much of the total assessment this assessment task is worth. Please ensure that the sum of all weights of the different assessment tasks adds up to 100% and no single assessment task is worth over 60%.
  9. Enter a Due date. You can enter a date in any format; e.g. 20 August 2012, or Week 12.
  10. Enter a Description. This can be anything from a few words to multiple pages of text, and can include formatted text (bold, italics, lists etc).
  11. Click Save.
     
     The assessment task title, weighting, due date, and description all appear in the published unit guide. Task type is the only information which does not appear in the published unit guide.

  12.  Repeat steps 5 to 11 to add additional Assessment tasks ensuring all the tasks add up to 100%.
     
  13. Click on the appropriate icons in the Actions column to edit , delete  or move  an added Assessment task.
  14. Click on Edit to enter General assessment information. This section should include information required under the Unit Guide Policy that applies across all your assessment tasks, such as submission methods, and extension and late submission options
  15. Click Save.

Delivery and resources

This section is used to include additional information for students. This could include:

  • Technology used and required
  • Required unit materials
  • Recommended readings
  • Other requirements for students to complete the unit satisfactorily
  1. Log into iTeach
  2. Click on My unit guides.
  3. Click Edit for the unit you wish to update.
    Content Custom Selection 1 
  4. Click on the down arrow to open the Delivery and resources section if it is not already open.
     
  5. Click Edit and enter the content (see below for important information about using the HTML editor).
     
  6. Click Save.

10          

Remember that any material in this section will be available to students and the general public. If you have material that shouldn't be made public due to copyright licensing, intellectual property etc., then you will need to provide this material separately to students, not in the unit guide.


Using the HTML editor to add content

Formatting standards in the HTML editor are important to follow especially for accessibility considerations.

  1. Select Heading 3 for Format and enter a heading.
     
  2. Enter text using Normal for Format.
     
  3. If you wish to add a sub-heading then select Heading 4 for Format and enter a sub-heading.
     
  4. Enter text using Normal for Format.
     
  5. Repeat steps 1 – 4 for the remaining headings required to be addressed under Delivery and Resources.
  6. Always remember to click Save when you are finished.

If you are going to copy and paste content from a Word document into the HTML editor always use the Paste from Word function to avoid formatting issues.  Please be aware that pasting tables into the HTML editor may not appear exactly as it does in your Word document.

Unit schedules

This section is used to include a weekly schedule of topics to be covered in the unit and is an optional section.

  1. Log into iTeach
  2. Click on My unit guides.
  3. Click Edit for the unit you wish to update.
    Content Custom Selection 1 
  4. Click on the down arrow to open the Unit schedule section if it is not already open.
     
  5. Click Edit and enter the content. (For important information on formatting within the HTML editor, view the Delivery and resources guide.)
  6. Click Save.

If you are going to copy and paste content from a Word document into the HTML editor always use the Paste from Word function to avoid formatting issues.  Please be aware that pasting tables into the HTML editor may not appear exactly as it does in your Word document.

Learning and teaching activities

Entering learning and teaching activities is optional, but recommended.  They can be mapped to learning outcomes, assessment tasks and graduate capabilities.

  1. Log into iTeach
  2. Click on My unit guides.
  3. Click Edit for the unit you wish to update.
    Content Custom Selection 1 
  4. Click on the down arrow to open the Learning and teaching activities section if it is not already open.
     
  5. Click Add a learning and teaching activity.
     
  6. Enter the Title and Description for the activity.  Both the Title and Description will be visible in the published unit guide.
  7. Click Save.
     
  8. Repeat steps 5 to 7 to add additional Learning and teaching activities.
     
  9. Click on the appropriate icons in the Actions column to edit , delete  or move  an added Learning and teaching activity.

Policies and procedures

Standard policies and procedures are already included in this section but you can also include department or faculty specific information.

  1. Log into iTeach
  2. Click on My unit guides.
  3. Click Edit for the unit you wish to update.
  4. Click on the down arrow to open the Policies and procedures section if it is not already open.
  5. Click Edit under the standard policies and procedures, which have already been included.
  6. HTML editor boxes appear below each section of the standard policies and procedures. Add any additional department or faculty specific information into the desired area.
  7. Click Save .

Changes from previous offerings

Use this section to let students know about changes that have been made to the content or delivery of the unit since the last time it was offered.

This is required information under the Unit Guide Policy if your unit has been offered before.

  1. Log into iTeach
  2. Click on My unit guides.
  3.  Click Edit for the unit you wish to update.
  4. Click on the down arrow to open the Changes from a previous offering section if it is not already open.
  5. Click Edit and enter the content. (There is no HTML editor for this section, plain text only can be input).
  6. Click Save .

Add custom section

Use this area to add a custom section within the unit guide for any additional information your department or faculty requires to be included.

  1. Log into iTeach
  2. Click on My unit guides.
  3. Click Edit for the unit you wish to update.
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the Add custom section.
  5. Input the title of the custom section and click Add.
  6. The new custom section appears below the other sections.
  7. Click on the down arrow to open the new section and click Edit.
  8. Enter a description of the section.
  9. Click Save.

Curriculum mapping

Once you have completed all of the content information for your unit guide you can move onto the next step, mapping.

  1. Log into iTeach
  2. Click on My unit guides.
  3. Click Edit for the unit you wish to update.
    Content Custom Selection 1
  4. Click on the Mapping arrow.

Mapping learning outcomes to assessment tasks

You need to map the learning outcomes to show how they align with assessment tasks. Each learning outcome must be mapped to at least one assessment task, and vice versa.

  1. Click on the  icon to expand each learning outcome and select the assessment task that relates to this learning outcome.
  2. Repeat the process to map all the learning outcomes with assessment tasks.
  3. Click Save.
  4. At any time during the mapping process you can click on Mapping summary to generate a table outlining your curriculum mapping.

Mapping learning outcomes to graduate capabilities

Each learning outcome should be mapped to at least one of Macquarie’s graduate capabilities. Select only the graduate capabilities that best apply to your unit, your unit does not need to include every graduate capability.

  1. Click on the  icon to expand each learning outcome and select the graduate capabilities that relate to this learning outcome.
     
  2. Repeat the process to map all the learning outcomes with graduate capabilities.
  3. Click Save.

Mapping assessment tasks to graduate capabilities

Each assessment task should be mapped to at least one of Macquarie’s graduate capabilities. Select only the graduate capabilities that best apply to your unit, your unit does not need to include every graduate capability.

You can either manually map the assessment tasks to the graduate capabilities or you can click on the Generate Mapping button to automatically map the assessment tasks to the graduate capabilities.

To manually map:

  1. Click on the  icon to expand each assessment task and select the graduate capabilities that relate to this assessment task.
     
  2. Repeat the process to map all the assessment tasks with graduate capabilities.
  3. Click Save.

To automatically map:

  1. To automatically map assessment tasks with graduate capabilities according to the other mappings you have already entered, click on Generate Mapping.
     
  2. Click Save.

Additional mapping

If you would like to, you can do additional optional mapping:

Follow the process described above mapping each learning and teaching activity to at least one learning outcome, one assessment task and one graduate capability. Use the  icon to expand each learning and teaching activity to select the additional mappings.

Please note that these mappings will not appear on the curriculum mapping summary, which is generated when you click on mapping summary.

Submitting for approval and publishing 

Once you have completed all of the content and mapping information for your unit guide you can move onto the final step, approval.

  1. Log into iTeach
  2. Click on My unit guides.
  3. Click Edit for the unit you wish to update.
    Content Custom Selection 1 
  4. Click on the Approval arrow.
     
  5. Select if this unit is co-badged or not.If it is, enter the name of the unit it is co-badged with.
     
  6. A department manger will need to review the unit guide and approve it before it can be published.iTeach provides a list of department managers who can approve your unit guide.
  7. Before submitting your unit guide for approval, you can select whether you would like the guide to be published automatically once it has been approved or whether you would prefer to publish it yourself once it has been approved.
     
  8. A yellow box will be seen if there are any issues with your unit guide.The red text will highlight what needs to be completed before you are able to submit for approval.
     
  9. If there are no issues with your unit guide, click Submit for approval.
     
      If you wanted to make changes to your unit guide once it has been submitted for approval, you need to hover your mouse over My work and click on My unit guides and click on the Withdraw button.You can then go back in, make your changes and submit for approval again.
     
  10. The Status column on your My unit guides page tells you at what stage the unit guide is currently at.Once a Department Manager has reviewed your guide the status column may state:
    • Approved – if the guide has been approved and you selected that you preferred to publish it yourself
    • Published – if the guide has been approved and you selected that it be published automatically
    • Changes required – if the guide has been declined and you are required to make some changes before re-submitting it for approval

Change a unit guide

If a unit guide needs to be changed after it has been published, the convenor will need to go to the unit guide page and create a new draft, make the changes and then submit them for approval.

Note that as part of the re-submission, the convenor must provide a description of what has changed, which will be displayed to students in the new version of the unit guide – this enables students to quickly determine whether they have the latest version of the unit guide and identify any changes they need to be aware of.

  1. Log into iTeach
  2. Click on My unit guides.
  3. Click Edit for the unit you wish to update.
    Content Custom Selection 1 
  4. A box will appear advising that the unit has already been published.  Click on Yes, create a new draft and edit.
     
  5. A message will appear at the top of the page advising that you are working on a draft version.
     
  6. Make the required changes to the unit guide and click Submit for approval.
     
  7. A box will appear advising you to put in a description of the changes made to the published version.  This is so the department manager will know what changes to review before approving.  Click Save.
     
  8. The unit guide is now submitted for approval by the department manager.
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