Course development at UQ requires alignment of program purpose, structure and content, learning outcomes and assessment. A strategy for ensuring alignment is 'backwards' curriculum design.

'Backwards' design challenges traditional curriculum design approaches that outline a list of content to be taught. The focus of backwards design on a program level is to place graduate outcomes at front of mind.

One approach to backwards design, and a useful tool to support course development, has been developed by Vanderbilt University's Center for Teaching.

Getting started with course development

New to course coordination at UQ? The following resources can help you get started.

Creating a course guide or profile

Each course offered at UQ has a course profile on the Electronic Course Profile System (ECPS), which provides a course overview, and description of the learning objectives, weekly learning activities and assessment items.

The course profile is important for several reasons:

  1. Curriculum planning: course objectives, learning activities, assessment and graduate attributes of the course are all specified in the course profile. The course profile needs to be studied by course coordinators, lecturers and tutors to understand the course they are teaching.
  2. Course resource planning and information.
  3. Administration:
    • The course profile specifies the course coordinators and lecturers, contact information and timetabling, as well as specific learning activities and resources, which are relied on by students.
    • Automatic SECaT generation systems depend on accurate lecture information to generate course and teacher evaluations.

Accessing your course profile

If you are a course coordinator, your course profile can be accessed and edited by logging into the Electronic Course Profile System (ECPS).

Course profiles are developed and delivered before the beginning of each teaching semester, and must be made available to students and other stakeholders according to the school publication deadline. Your School Academic Administrator usually sends out an email informing course coordinators of this deadline.

If the course has been offered before, most of the content in the course profile will be copied automatically from the previous version, but it is the responsibility of the course coordinator to check through the course profile before publication and make any necessary changes to learning activities, assessment and so forth.

This can be done by logging into the ECPS. Once logged in, you will be presented with a Welcome page, with useful information and links to online help topics to get you started. The 'I'm a Designer' link in the top-left corner will take you to a list of active course profiles for which you have Designer (edit) access. You can request Designer access to profiles not already on your list by contacting the ECPS Unit Administrators in your School office. Once you have updated a profile, it can then be submitted for review so it can be made available for publication by your School's unit administrator.

All areas other than the assessment portion of the course profile can be amended at any time throughout the semester to reflect changes in activities or other information that comes to hand.

All published course profiles are accessible from mySI-net, Blackboard, and the Programs and Courses website.

More information

UQ Staff Development offers a biannual short course, Setting up for a Successful Semester, which covers tips and tricks for how to best use your course profile.

Making your course profile available to students

Ask the ECPS Unit Administrators in your School office what the school procedure is on making the course profile available to students. As a general rule, it is up to the course coordinator to make necessary changes to the course profile and then submit the course profile for review by the relevant major convenor and school academic administrator.

Once the course profile has been reviewed it is then made available for publication by the school academic administrator.

Course coordinators generally receive an email alert from the school academic administrator when course profiles have to be updated and submitted for semester teaching. It is preferable that course profiles are submitted in a timely manner so that they can be reviewed and made available to students as soon as possible before the teaching semester. UQ Policy states that the profile must be published via the ECPS no later than a week prior to the course's first scheduled learning activity.

Adding/changing lecturers in the course profile

It is important that this is done using the search options in order to find the staff member’s name, as registered in the HR system. This is because the electronic SECaT (teaching evaluation) is automatically generated via this system. The names have to be changed by the course profile closing date.

For instructions on how to add a staff member, see ECPS Help: Course Staff - Technical Help. Your School's Unit Administrators can also help.

Course Coordinators

Course coordinators listed in course profiles are sourced from SI-net data. If the list of course coordinators in a profile is not up-to-date, contact your School office so that they can update SI-net. SI-net updates the ECPS every morning, so changes made to SI-net will be reflected in the ECPS by the following day.

Guest lecturers

Consult with your school manager if you would like to include a guest lecture as part of your course.

These can be unpaid or paid. Paid lecturers are dependent on school budget allocations; there is sometimes a budget provision for one or more paid guest lecturers in the course. Unpaid lecturers can include industry guests with an expertise on a particular subject, who are happy to offer their services at no charge.

Creating a resource list

Once you have decided on the course resources you wish to use, you can upload the list to the course profile by logging into the Electronic Course Profile System (ECPS) and making the necessary changes as a Designer.

Course resources are listed in individual course profiles under Section 3 Learning Resources. Required and Recommended resources listed here, once confirmed, will be provided to the Library and the bookshop so that the resources can be made available to students in sufficient quantities. To give the Library and bookshop sufficient time, confirmation of resources is required much earlier than the publication of the profile. Confirmation must be provided by course profile Designers no later than 8 weeks prior to the course's first scheduled learning activity.

You can also generate a course resource list via Library Course Learning Resources and Textbooks. This can be accessed by the students via direct links in the course profile, the course eLearning Blackboard site, and the Library website.

Library resources

Library Services for Teaching Staff lists some of the ways in which they can work with you to support your students. These include:

Liaison librarian

Each UQ school, centre and research institute has a librarian who is your link with the Library. Librarians work with staff and students to deliver information services in support of teaching, learning, research and practice at UQ. To find your school's liaison librarian, consult the Library website, or ask your school's administration staff.

Course reading/resource lists and information

The Library can access your published course profile and create a reading and resource list based on the learning resources you have listed. Students then have direct access to their reading lists via the Library website (by typing in the course code) or via the course Blackboard site under Library Links (this is particularly useful).

Course coordinators can organise this by emailing Library Learning Resources at or by contacting their school's liaison librarian.

At least 8 weeks' prior notice is required in order to have reading lists and textbooks ready at the start of semester.


Videos for your course can be streamed by the Library. This is available via UQ Library Search, or can be linked to via Blackboard under Learning Resources (Library Links).

These are viewable by UQ staff and students with a broadband internet connection and compatible viewing computer or mobile device (both iOS and Android playback supported). You can also request a TV recording for your course.

Library High Use

Textbooks can be requested to be placed in Library High Use, which means they are available on a short-term loan basis. This is usually 2 hours, or 4 hours if borrowed from a BDM (self-service book dispensing machine).

See your school's liaison librarian or the Library on how to request this.

Referencing Style Guides

Referencing Style Guides are available from the Library website. You can inform your students of these resources and can embed a link to them in your course via the eLearning Blackboard site.

Copyright advice

The Library can provide expert advice on copyright inquiries concerning:

  • teaching, learning, research, publication and open access
  • training and seminars for researchers and staff.

Learning about other courses in your teaching program

The UQ Courses and Programs site has links to both undergraduate and postgraduate programs and majors, which contain links to course lists that provide a comprehensive list of subjects and their course codes. By clicking on a relevant course code, you can access the published course profile of that course.

New academics need to look at other courses being offered in their discipline, school and faculty, in order to align their course with the rest of the curriculum. It's also helpful to know what subjects are offered within a teaching program, and how to find information on them in order to answer possible student questions.

Your school administration staff, program and relevant course coordinators can provide further information on courses in your teaching program.


Evaluation of teaching

Each time a course is offered, students enrolled in that course will be invited by email from Week 12 onwards to voluntarily and confidentially evaluate their course coordinator and lecturer via an online SECaT (Student Evaluation of Course and Teacher).

Course tutor evaluations are ordered either individually by the tutor or via school bulk process, depending on school policy.

Course coordinators are emailed two reports after student results are finalised: the SECaT course report and the SECaT teaching report. Tutors are emailed their individual reports.

Visit the Evaluation page to learn more about teaching evaluation.