Skip main navigation

Integrated Curriculum Framework (ICF)

The Integrated Curriculum Framework identifies connections between key components of the curriculum and how these connections help develop courses.
Bob Fox: This presentation provides an overview of curriculum design referring to the Integrated Curriculum Framework, which will be explained in this video. Let’s start with the big picture, such as a National Qualifications Framework. Here in Australia, the Australian Qualifications Framework maps out the levels of knowledge, skills, and their application that make up a university qualification and provide standards of achievement at different levels. All universities develop strategic plans, normally for a 5 to 10-year period. These strategic plans outline the targeted direction and aims of the university over a given period.
On successful completion of their studies, all universities expect students to have acquired a set of graduate attributes or graduate capabilities that identify them as graduates of that particular university, no matter what degree they’ve taken. At UNSW, students must demonstrate four graduate capabilities showing that they are scholars capable of independent research, entrepreneurial leaders, professionals, and global citizens. Universities require students to demonstrate that they can meet stated requirements expressed as learning outcomes in order to get their qualifications. Learning outcomes include particular sets of knowledge and skills, as well as their application in particular disciplines. Program Learning Outcomes define what students are expected to achieve on completion of a degree or diploma program.
It’s important to ensure that Program Learning Outcomes align with the national qualifications framework, in our case with the Australian Qualifications Framework. Program Learning Outcomes also need to reflect the university’s strategic plan and the university’s graduate capabilities. Here’s an example of the Program Learning Outcomes integrating the university’s graduate capabilities in one of our programs. Generally, it’s best to limit the Program Learning Outcomes to between four to six clear statements, all of which begin with active verbs that identify exactly what it is that students must be able to demonstrate at the end of the program. Program Learning Outcomes need to align with the national qualifications framework and take into account the university’s strategic plans and intent.
And finally, Program Learning Outcomes should incorporate the university’s graduate capabilities. Each program is made up of multiple courses. Every course has course learning outcomes. Course learning outcomes define what students are expected to achieve and demonstrate in a course. Course learning outcomes must align with and link to the Program Learning Outcomes. Again, it’s best to limit course learning outcomes to between four and six clear statements, all of which begin with active verbs that identify exactly what it is that students must be able to demonstrate by the end of the course. Courses need to be developed to help students to achieve the course learning outcomes. We will focus on the RASE model for course design in a follow-up video presentation. Assessment.
Assessment tasks should be designed to align with the Course Learning Outcomes. Assessments can be designed for different purposes. For example, to help students to improve during the learning process and to give students opportunities to demonstrate how well that they have achieved the stated learning outcomes. Evaluation can be used in multiple ways. For example, to identify the effectiveness of courses and the overall program in developing the university graduate capabilities and helping students to achieve the stated Program and Course Learning Outcomes. Evaluation can also identify how well the courses in the program address the overall program needs, as well as the overall educational design and in addressing all of the Integrated Curriculum Framework components.
We hope that this short presentation in conjunction with the activities and the readings provided online helps you get started on your own curriculum planning and design.
In the previous steps, you were introduced to a range of pedagogical models for integrating technology together with constructive alignment as a framework for educational design. Each model contributes different perspectives and strengths to inform good design. As a designer you can integrate two or more models into a framework to inform your practice. UNSW achieves this at an organisational level with the Integrated Curriculum Framework (ICF).

Integrated Curriculum Framework

The purpose of the university’s Integrated Curriculum Framework is to identify the connections between key components of the curriculum and how these connections help in the development of effective programs and courses that can be quality assured. The Integrated Curriculum Framework identifies core components and the interrelationships between these components.
Integrated Curriculum Framework

Developing curriculum

Generally , developing a curriculum follows these steps:
  • Start with identifying the overall rationale for the Degree or Program.
  • Define the Program Learning Outcomes (PLO), which prescribe the knowledge, skills, attributes and practices of a program. We will focus on how to design PLOs in Week 2.
  • You also need to incorporate in the design of PLO, the University’s Strategic Intent and Graduate Capabilities. Graduate Capabilities, identify the university’s expectations, that all students should achieve a set of generic abilities and skills on graduation.
  • Develop the Course Learning Outcomes (CLO) for each course within the Program. Each CLO should articulate clear links to one or more PLO. At the course level, each course may contribute to the development of some, but not all, Graduate Capabilities as Graduate Capabilities are associated with the totality of the student learning experience across all the years of their study at university.
  • Develop the course components and assessments, again articulating clear links between each component and aligned with the CLO.
  • As courses are taught and students have been assessed, you can then evaluate the course. Evaluation provides data on the extent of success students have in achieving the CLO and PLO. The evaluation data can also be used to support the assessment and the effectiveness of the courses within the program.capabilities.

Reflection point

Consider the ICF and where your course integrates with the model.
This article is from the free online

Introduction to Educational Design in Higher Education

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education