Making our curriculum visible: unit outlines now online

Unit of study outlines are now published on the University’s website in a common format, giving staff and students unprecedented and transparent access to our curriculum. Populated with information from Sydney Curriculum, the new outlines are accessible across devices and contain the information needed for students to plan their studies. The sections of the new outline are detailed below. They are designed to be easy to maintain and publish and to align with the more detailed subject and assessment information housed on the unit’s Canvas site.

Unit of study outlines are a key source of information for students. They contain details of what they will study, how they will learn and how and when they will be assessed. The information in the unit outline is used by students to plan their unit choices, organise their studies, apply for special consideration, set up academic plans and provide evidence of the topics they studied. When applying for assessment adjustments, the forms will now be pre-filled with the assessment information from the unit outline, simplifying and reducing delays for students and decisions for teaching and support staff, including coordinators.

When a unit coordinator publishes their unit outline this will create a link to an outline in the unit’s Canvas site, publish the outline on the web and pre-populate the forms students use to apply for assessment consideration and adjustments. The assessment details in these forms will match the assessment details in the unit outline making the application process easier for students and enabling better decision making. The publishing process is a quick and simple process and needs to happen two weeks prior to the teaching session for 1000- and 5000-level units and one week prior to the teaching session for all other units.

Publishing unit outlines on the web will benefit other audiences including:

  • Staff – who might want to know what their students have, are or will learn in other units, and the assessment dates of units that their students are taking in parallel to their own.
  • Prospective students – who can now more easily find information across our comprehensive and open curriculum.
  • Former students – who may be applying for credit elsewhere or who may need to demonstrate what they learnt and how they were assessed.

The unit outlines will move to a dedicated area on the website during semester 1 to allow search to be improved and for the pages to be aligned with content aimed at all of these audiences. The overall look of the outlines themselves and their URLs will not change during these improvements.

How to navigate the new unit outline web pages

Unit outlines are currently housed in their own area on the Current Students website,

Search for units to study

Unit outline search page
The front page.

The entry or front page,, is a simple search page. Visitors can currently search by unit name, code or keyword. The keyword search is limited to the unit description but this and other aspects of the search process will be improved once outlines move to a dedicated site.

The search results correspond to the approved 2020 curriculum. As shown in the screenshot opposite, a list of units is displayed along with their descriptions. If the unit has been approved in Sydney Curriculum, the results show a link as seen for CHEM1112 in the results shown. For unit outlines which have not been approved, the unit information is displayed but there is no link as seen for the remaining units in this example.

Unit main page

An example of a unit’s main page.

Following a link for an approved unit from the search page takes a visitor to its main page. Many units run in multiple sessions or even in different modes, such as on-campus and online. The main unit page contains information which is consistent across each iteration of the unit during the year, including:

  • Unit details: unit name, code, credit points and the academic unit responsible for it.
  • Enrolment rules: pre-quisites, co-requisites, prohibitions and assumed knowledge, including clear definitions of what these terms mean.
  • Learning outcomes.
  • Links to unit outlines for each iteration of the unit as soon as they are published. From 2021, the page will hold links to unit outlines published from 2020 onwards. In the page shown, there is a link to the unit outline for the January intensive as this is the only outline published at the time the screenshot was taken.

Unit outline page

When a unit outline is published, links are automatically added to the unit main page and to the course menu of its Canvas site. It contains all the information for that unit availability organised into these sections:

  • Overview:
    • A description of the unit.
    • Unit details – alongside those for the unit main page, this section now lists the session, the year, the attendance mode and the location.
    • Enrolment rules.
    • Names and contact details for the unit coordinator and key teaching and support staff, including a generic contact email address if this is used.
  • Assessment:
    • Assessment table, listing for each assessment its type, due date, length and the learning outcomes that each assesses. A short description of each assessment can be given but full details including title should be housed on the Canvas site rather than on the internet.
    • Consistent information on late submission, special consideration and academic integrity, including links to further information and policy.
  • Weekly schedule: showing the topics and learning activities and the learning outcomes they develop.
  • Learning outcomes: showing these for the unit alongside definitions of the University’s graduate qualities and any external standards, such as those of accreditation boards. During semester 1, the mapping of the unit outcomes to the University’s graduate qualities will be added.
  • Closing the loop: outlining any changes that have been made to the unit following staff and student reviews of previous iterations.
  • Additional information: the content of this section will depend on the nature of the unit but might include work, health and safety information and links to relevant resources such as school or faculty student information websites.

The URL of the unit outline can be used to link to it for years to come.

Publishing your unit outline

Before a unit outline appears online and assessment information is made available to other systems like Sydney Assist and Special Consideration, the information in the unit outline must be published by the coordinator. See this quick video summary for more information.

Publishing a unit outline is a very simple process that unit coordinators do when they activate their unit’s Canvas site. Follow this quick online guide to check your unit information, have it approved, preview your outline and then publish it the internet.

Quick guide to publishing your unit outline



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