Reframe undergraduate academic program design in terms of learning outcomes and competencies
Like most universities, UBC has traditionally organized its curriculum around a structure of credit hours delineated by courses. The faculties of Medicine and Arts have adopted more flexible program structures organized around learning outcomes, which allows students to progress through a finer-grained set of learning experiences that build competencies. UBC is moving further towards using learning outcomes as a primary organizing principle of program structure and completion. This approach will better engage student curiosity and initiative: it allows for a more individualized approach, supporting learning with clearer feedback to help students focus on competencies they have yet to master. Our plans here are being made with care, as many disciplines face highly structured accreditation requirements and course structures, including necessary prerequisites. Efforts to redesign programs need to respect these and involve strong collaborations between faculty and students, and, in many cases, alumni. We are treating this process as an opportunity to build a better understanding of student learning and how it can be supported most effectively.