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Teaching and Learning Activities
Course orientation requires that students understand what they will be required to do on their course, how they are expected to achieve this, and why. The sharing of standards, and requirements relating to processes, transactions and behaviours, should be prioritised. In order for students to be able to settle in quickly to their academic routines, operational details such as timetables, groups and processes for reporting absence need to be clearly communicated. This information is sometimes hidden in handbooks. Additionally, any changes to the curriculum or essential information such as module selection, room changes, etc, need to be communicated in good time.
Course orientation is best achieved through scaffolding new students through the first stages of an organised curriculum. An organised curriculum is coherent, well-structured, provides clear course information including guidance about resources and technologies for learning, and has transparent, aligned, relevant assessment processes and activities (Biggs, 1996; Gibbs, 2010; Fredericks, Blumenfeld & Paris, 2004).Demonstrating the value of learning activities and assignment tasks, ensuring they are useful, informative and relevant to student interests and future goals, and relating course requirements to real world contexts and to students’ previous experiences, can be useful in orientating students to course requirements (Fredericks et al, 2004; Thomas, 2012). Our Course Development Principles Guide for Staff contains a number of suggestions.
You can access case studies from staff around the university on how they orientate students to their course here.