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Aligning your course to the program

Unlike horizontal alignment, which has remained pretty much unchanged since people started writing about curriculum, vertical alignment is relatively new. That is not to say people didn't do it in the past, but it wasn't formally captured.

The emergence in importance of the AQF and TEQSA have created an environment that requires us to formalise the curriculum vertically.

Vertical alignment is the alignment of the whole education system, relative to the in which context you're teaching. For we at UniSA, that means not just 'university' but it includes external bodies like the AQF, registration bodies, industry bodies, or any stakeholder whose perspective needs to be incorporated.

The discussions and requirements of AQF / registration bodies / academia result in a set of outcomes that are required for a graduate to be recognised. The vertical alignment is the way these requirements feed through the program in an intentional and explicit way. If you are a Program Director, you will be involved intimately in the discussions with registration bodies to create the program objectives. 

The practical implication of all this is to design the three years of a program so that the program will build students' knowledge, skills and attitudes, and enable them to meet the program objectives. Further, it means COURSES must belong to PROGRAMS, not to the people who run the course. There needs to be some certainty that courses deliver what is needed to build on previous knowledge, and creating a platform for subsequent courses.

The image below has been adapted from Central Queensland University, and captures this really well.

Curriculum alignment