Getting started: create a blueprint

Getting started: create a blueprint

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  • Jolanda


    Gilly suggests the use of a blueprint to conceptualise (“lay out the essential aspects of your unit/module”) your learning intervention. This forms the first part, Stage One, of the Carpe Diem learning design process.

    Please watch this this video and share your observations, insights and questions.

    Creating a blueprint for Carpe Diem:

    Why is a ‘blueprint’ useful?
    What questions do I need to ask to help me formulate a ‘blueprint’?
    What stage follows on the ‘blueprint’?

    • This topic was modified 8 years, 7 months ago by Jolanda.



    Hi Jolanda, G, Sipho and others
    Thanks for the reflection questions that you ask.
    Response to Q.1: At IDE- we have also found working from a blueprint to be of great help- to provide a facilitative degree of structure, while it allows for course design team creativity.
    Response to Q.2: Regarding the questions to ask: we then provide a learning design template in which we specify the following:
    -target student profile learning characteristics that will impact on course design;
    -terminal outcomes mapped according to Biggs’ SOLO taxonomy
    -preferred pedagogical approach table, divided according to learning stages (conceptualisation, construction and dialogue)
    As Gilly advises we also design major assessment tasks, e.g. a project, that are constructively aligned to the outcomes. For each assessment task, we also design an assessment rubric for the assessments such as an assignment. We look forward to more opportunity to approach our design for this workshop in agile, collaborative manner
    Response to Q.3: The next stage: Actual storyboarding process



    I am beginning to re-think the way we have approached a project based training program for would be academics.
    I am thinking of involving one or two coordinators/ course leaders, a librarian, learning technologists and two reality checkers.

    The types of questions I will be asking will include : (1) How are we going to plan this course so that it is different from the other courses? What will make it unique? (2) What are we trying to achieve with this course ? What is the mission, the goal ?

    ( I am deeply thinking about which creative individual could be part of the team and who could be the finisher).

    Thinking about the items suggested in the workbook are important:
    – threshold knowledge
    – pedagogical challenges that could be addressed through learning technologies
    -digital assessment ?

    Normally, I would just share my ideas of what I think should be done. A collaborative blueprint development process is going to help me value other people’s inputs and will help strengthen the team member involvement.

    A blue print is the basis of a design…any design in any field. In my curriculum course I talk about a ‘test blue print’ when teaching the topic on test construction. A blue print is key to the balance of content sampling and distribution, depth and coverage of objectives. By extension, when designing a course the blue print becomes a ‘road map’ of what the course aims to achieve, objectives to be attained and content to be covered through organised ‘land marks’ to be followed, and evaluation procedures to determine achievement. The questions to ask when designing are the basic who; why; what; when; where;and how (and how much). The next step will involve addressing each of these questions effectively and efficiently.



    In Australia…and most other places in the world ? There’s a big movement towards defining learning outcomes …this is a good thing since it gives an easy and focused starting point for design. But I’ve also found that it can be constraining of real creativity. So carpe diem has always started with the team ‘ writing ‘ a mission statement for the unit/ course/ module. In a workshop, I ask people to imagine they’ve met a graduate from their course in ten years time. The graduate is a key note at a conference. They start their talk by saying ‘ ten years ago I undertook a course of study that inspired me to…’ This results in more forward looking, grounded , aspirational missions . Anyone think of other ways of doing this ?



    Gilly, the design process that we model to our students, is an iterative process based on the model of Lawson (2005)

    INITIATION problem definition
    PREPARATION gathering info, analysis
    PROPOSAL MAKING concept, idea, framework
    EVALUATION evaluating idea, proposal

    and, if needed, starting all over…

    I support the idea of writing a mission statement for the unit/ course/ module – imagining a graduate ‘in ten years time’. We refer to that stage as the “Design intent” (before formulating the concept). That probably fits with the “preparation” stage above (your “blueprint stage ?). Furthermore, my experience is that it is very important to conceptualise/ ideate before getting in to the detail – somewhere between your “blueprint” and “storybord” stages?

    Your thoughts?

    At the University of Jos, we designed a course development template, which contained all of the basic ingredients contained in the various posts here. It was meant to be adjusted to suit different disciplines and course types. With regard to Gilly’s mission statement, I have often approached it like a sales rep. What is the main attraction in this course? Then frame it like an advertorial and let the promises in it form the components of your leaning outcomes. I find that doing so helps me to constantly refer back to the mission statement to determine which topics need to be covered, what needs to be emphasized, what needs what amount of time, as well as what activities and tools are required to get us there.
    But to be a confident designer, I need the team effort that is not only an enriching influence, but a validating force for each course.

    I have attached here the course development template along with course planning questions which we have used in our course design. Do these align with what needs to be considered?

    You must be logged in to view attached files.



    Hi Jerome, I agree that the strength of Carpe Diem lies the team-based and collaborative focus. Your approach to keep referring back to the “advertorial” or mission statement is crucial, perhaps comparable to Gilly’s “blueprint” stage. Would you mind sharing your course development template with the group, or at least describe it in a bit more detail?

    I have attached the template along with the course planning questions in an earlier post.



    Thanks Jerome, for sharing before you even saw my request đŸ˜‰ I am keen to have a look and will chat soon!



    Hi all

    I think we need graduates who are either capable of being immediately productive when employed, or of starting a small business when formal employment cannot be found. IMHO, this is the end we have in mind.

    Our blueprint/curriculation needs to map the road from (underprepared) school leaver to this idealistic end, broken into manageable chunks: call them years/modules/lessons/activities/… as appropriate.

    Both the starting point and the end are constantly moving, so we need to constantly reconsider whether our map will still take us from start to finish. The question is not ‘What worked before?’, but ‘What will work now?’.

    Gilly refers quite often to ‘designing with the end in mind’. What do you think is ‘the end’? Why do we offer qualifications? What is the value and purpose of a course of study?



    Hi Jerome, I had a look at the templates you shared and wonder whether there is adequate room on the template to represent the learning activities and also to reflect on the learning and teaching. I am thinkng more and more that we really need to build a repository of learning designs in the African context and elsewhere to comment on and refer to. What do you think?

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