Alignment of developments in higher education

John Cowan, Judith W. George, Andreia Pinheiro-Torres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This study builds upon the concept of alignment within the curriculum (due to Biggs) and suggests, in the context of two current examples, an integrated methodology for effectively aligned development activities within universities. Higher Education institutions face important challenges. Firstly, quality enhancement of the curriculum is now an institutional concern, if not a priority, in the face of governmental pressure and in a competitive environment. It is no longer a matter of individual endeavour. Secondly, we now have a basic pedagogy for adult learning, and should put that into practice systematically. And thirdly, staff are now faced with the demand to commit themselves to professional development, and to determine what that means in terms of their particular profession. This paper considers these challenges, and relates them to the argument for an integrated methodology for institutional, staff and curriculum development, which aligns these activities rather more effectively than hitherto. At the same time, it advocates a logical model for curriculum development, as a complementary tool of alignment for student-centred curriculum development. The argument is illustrated by recent work in the Open University in the UK and in the Universidade de Aveiro in Portugal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-459
Number of pages21
JournalHigher Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004


  • alignment
  • curriculum development
  • institutional development
  • management of change
  • quality enhancement
  • staff development
  • student-centred curriculum


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