Balancing consistency, flexibility and opportunity

ACU’s unique position as a multi-campus institution crossing state boundaries, provides opportunities to work collaboratively to create learning experiences for our students.

A nationalised model of curriculum can be challenging to conceptualise and manage. Such a model must balance the advantages of consistency with opportunities to provide unique and flexible learning experiences for students. These experiences can draw upon the unique features of disciplines and the unique attributes of academics within a specific physical, virtual or regulatory environment. Such flexibility has the potential to put students at the centre of their learning by engaging them in enriching and meaningful learning experiences.

Achieving the appropriate balance between uniformity and specificity can be a challenging task. This challenge is exacerbated by the operational constraints of a national model. Even in courses where there is a high degree of consistency in terms of teaching  approach and resources, every learning experience is unique.

balance scale, left end reads 'great consistency and uniformity' the other end reads 'greater flexibility and contextualisation

Your students, your unique context, with equity as the driver

Achieving the right ‘mix’ between more fixed and more dynamic and flexible elements of the curriculum requires collaboration and planning. Where the right balance is struck within a specific context, teachers have the opportunity to draw upon their unique expertise and stylistic preferences to bring curriculum to life and engage with students. Such flexibility can be accommodated provided students have the opportunity to achieve the learning outcomes.

Working in national teams presents opportunities to collaborate. Taking a synergistic approach to learning and teaching can allow for local specifics to be situated within broader perspectives.

For example:

  • variances in local practices can allow for comparing and contrasting a range of practices, therefore improving student understanding
  • accreditation requirements can be adhered to whilst concurrently recognising broader principles
  • differing modes and environments (physical and virtual) can accommodate a balance of social experiences and flexibility for students
  • differing staff capacities and stylistic preferences can assist academics to see other perspectives and integrate these into their teaching practice
  • multiple campuses or differing modes may have specific resources to draw upon.

This resource aims to support academic staff in developing outcomes driven curricula that places the students at its centre. In doing so it is recognised that the operational efficiency afforded by consistency at certain levels is also an imperative.

Additional national curriculum resources

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What aspects of curriculums are flexible?

Providing students with the opportunity to achieve the learning outcomes is the overarching aim of all curriculum.

  • Explore the purpose of each tier of the curriculum
  • Which elements of curriculum that are less flexible and require higher level processes and more consultation to evoke change?
  • Which elements of curriculum that are more dynamic and require fewer processes to change?

Find out more


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Policies related to national programs

There are a range of policies that give guidance relevant to national courses and units:

Related policy definitions:

Equivalent: in relation to assessment, means achieving learning outcomes regardless of the mode or location of delivery. This will be done in accordance with the most appropriate processes necessary for the achievement of the requisite standard.- Academic Programs offered across Multiple Locations and/or in Multiple Study Modes Policy

Appropriate: means consistent with the achievement of the learning outcomes of the course and units, to the requisite standard, taking into consideration the unique requirements of the location and/or mode of delivery of the course/unit(s). - Academic Programs offered across Multiple Locations and/or in Multiple Study Modes Policy

Principle 7: Excellent teaching is consistent, comparable and equitable in curricula delivery across the national university. Where as a national University operating across a number of states and jurisdictions, ACU understand the importance of consistent, comparable and equitable curriculum delivery, particularly in relations to the learning experience of the student. - Learning and Teaching Policy.

Principle (e): must be fair, inclusive and equitable for all students.- Assessment policy

Page last updated on 02/07/2020

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