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 an Electronic Course Profile (ECP), which provides a course overview, and description of the course learning objectives, weekly learning activities and assessment items.

The ECP is important for several reasons:

  1. Curriculum planning: course objectives, learning activities, assessment and graduate attributes of the course are all specified in the ECP. The ECP 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 ECP 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 ECP

If you are a Course Coordinator, your course profile can be accessed and altered by logging into Course Profiles on the UQ Courses site.

ECPs are developed and delivered through the Course Profile system 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.

Most content in the ECP is updated automatically, but it is the responsibility of the Course Coordinator to check through the ECP before publication and make any necessary changes to learning activities, assessment and so forth.

This can be done by logging into the UQ Courses site. Once logged in, you will be taken directly to the My Course Profile page. Checks and relevant changes can be made to the ECP by clicking the left hand tab, I am a Unit Designer. Once you have made the changes, you then press ‘submit’ and ‘set’ so it can be made available for publication by your School Academic Administrator.

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

All published ECPs are accessible from 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 ECP.

Making your ECP available to students

Ask your School Academic Administrator what the school procedure is on making the ECP available to students. As a general rule, it is up to the Course Coordinator to make necessary changes to the ECP and then submit the ECP for review by the relevant Major Convenor and School Academic Administrator.

Once the ECP 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 ECPs have to be updated and submitted for semester teaching. It's preferable that ECPs 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.

Adding/changing lecturers in the ECP

It is important that this is done using the drop-down menu on the ECP database 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 ECP closing date.

For instructions on how to add a staff member, see ECP Help: Course Staff - Technical Help. Your School Academic Administrator can also help.

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 without fee.

Creating a resource list

Course resources are listed in the ECP under Learning Resources.

Once you have decided on the course resources you wish to use, you can upload the list to the ECP by logging into Course Profiles on the UQ Courses site and making the necessary changes as a Unit Designer.

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 ECP, 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 ECP 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. However, course reading lists can be updated or added to at any time during the 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.

Copywright advice

The Library can provide expert advice on copywright 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 ECP 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 SECaT page to learn more about teaching evaluation.