1. Plan the teaching and implementation of a course unit

Key questions

• What kind of knowledge and skills are you looking to develop? (content knowledge, generic skills)
• Do all the aspects (teaching methods, guidance, learning assignments, assessment) support the achievement of these goals?
• Does the workload in the course correspond to the number of credits? Do the available guidance resources match the teaching workload required by your plan?

Pedagogical models and manuscripts

Pedagogical models and manuscripts are a way to plan and organise teaching and learning events. The pedagogical model provides the theoretical structure for the teaching situation and the learning process. There are many pedagogical models and theoretical and conceptual perspectives that underpin them. When constructing learning processes, it is useful to be aware of at least some of the theoretical principles that guide teaching and learning, as well as the pedagogical models that have been developed on their basis.

Alternative models for planning:

• Fitec The design book for online learning

• HAMK: Module design

• Salmon, G. Carpe Diem model

The term pedagogical manuscript is often used in connection with pedagogical models, referring to how learning situations and the assignments that promote learning are divided into smaller sections. A student follows the learning path guided by this manuscript, while the pedagogical model guides this manuscript process.

Objectives and coherent alignments

Setting goals guides all teaching activities. It is often thought that the goals are clearly described in the pre-defined learning outcomes included in the curriculum. However, it can be useful to take a step back to consider whether, as a teacher, you also have other aspirations and objectives related to the development of learning. These may be objectives that, for example, have not been articulated in the learning outcomes for one reason or another but whose development you want to support. If this is the case, how can you refine the previously described learning objectives? How can you build them into the learning process? How do you reserve time for their development in your teaching?

At the heart of building the students’ knowledge and skills is the objective of making the learning process as coherently aligned as possible. Alignment means that, for example, the assessment criteria and assessment methods used in a course, as well as all the activities, assignments, materials, and interaction methods used to promote learning support the achievement of the pre-defined learning outcomes in a coherent manner. (Read more on the TLC pages Alignment in teaching.)

The key is to perceive what kind of knowledge and skills are being developed and to know why they are developed. It is also vital to understand how one’s actions as a teacher and a guide of the learning process support achieving the learning outcomes. It is important to describe this, especially to the students. Clear learning outcomes will help, but it is also useful to describe to students, for example, before or on the first day of a course at the latest, how the teaching and learning strategies, materials and assessment methods used in the course will lead towards achieving the learning outcomes. It is also very important to describe how you, as a teacher, teach and build interaction, and how you want students to work. (Read a description of how to start a course here.)

Time allocation

Time allocation refers to estimating and calculating the time required for learning, i.e. the time reserved for studying. Time allocation helps assess the workload in the course and the time that is needed for learning. A course is properly timetabled when students do not find it too demanding, the learning outcomes are achieved within the time allocated to the course, and most of the workload can be undertaken within the limits of the timetable. It is important for learning that students have enough time to attain the outcomes that have been set.

The credit system we are using is based on a common European agreement on the commensurability and extent of academic degrees, in which the scope of one credit is considered to be 26.7 hours of a student’s work. A student’s work includes all the work done by the student to complete the course (both contact teaching and self-studying). Thus, a 5-credit course represents approximately 135 hours of student work. There are various models and guidelines for planning the extent of studies. Some of them are listed below.

Read more on the time allocation of studies elsewhere on the TLC website.

Teaching methodRatio – contact hours + (self-study hours) → the required amount
Lectures and activating lectures1 h + (1 h) → 2 h
Exercises and guided exercises1 h + (1 h – 2 h) → 2–3 h
Cooperative learning and inquiry-based learning, learning café1 h + (2 h – 3 h) → 3–4 t
Book examReading three times: 100 pages → approximately 20 hours
(source: Polamk 2012)
Text style and intended level of learningStudents can read in an hour
General text, a cursory reading13–15 pages
Demanding text, a cursory reading10–12 pages
General text, deep reading7–9 pages
Demanding text, deep reading6–7 pages
A student reads on average (source: University of Helsinki)
Text style and complexity of the taskStudents can write in 10 hours
General text, requiring little editing (eg a practical internship report)7 pages
Demanding text, requiring little editing (eg an abstract)4 pages
The general text requires plenty of work (eg a learning diary)4 pages
Demanding text, requiring plenty of work (eg a research report or thesis)2 pages
A student writes on average (source: University of Helsinki)

Links checked 4.12.2023