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Engaging in the 'course efficiency' discussion: national drivers and local responses


Walls, J and Carr, A and Kelder, J-A and Ennever, E, Engaging in the 'course efficiency' discussion: national drivers and local responses, Journal of Further and Higher Education, 43, (8) pp. 1079-1091. ISSN 0309-877X (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 UCU

DOI: doi:10.1080/0309877X.2018.1449819


This article presents a method to evaluate undergraduate and postgraduate course teaching efficiency systematically, alongside measuring effectiveness of curriculum content and delivery. We argue that efficiency is aligned to cost and revenue while effectiveness is a quality-related construct. These potentially antagonistic elements – cost, revenue and quality – must be kept in balance if courses are to be attractive to students (high quality) and financially viable. Curriculum data collection and analysis spanned micro (unit), meso (course) and macro (faculty) level. Revenue data consisted of annual teaching student enrolment numbers by unit of study, aggregated to course level. Cost data included academic and administrative staff costs, and student professional experience placement expenditure. A teaching revenue to cost of delivery ratio metric and course quality score metric were developed to enable comparisons of units and course performance. Over time, these metrics, when utilised together, could be used to determine the impact of quality improvement interventions on teaching cost and revenue and vice versa. We argue that this approach supports strategic planning and actions to improve both efficiency and effectiveness of units and courses, without negatively affecting quality.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:curriculum efficiency, curriculum quality, costing course delivery, higher education
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Specialist studies in education
Research Field:Educational administration, management and leadership
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Schools and learning environments
Objective Field:Management, resources and leadership
UTAS Author:Walls, J (Professor Justin Walls)
UTAS Author:Carr, A (Associate Professor Andrea Carr)
UTAS Author:Kelder, J-A (Dr Jo-Anne Kelder)
UTAS Author:Ennever, E (Ms Ellen Ennever)
ID Code:127361
Year Published:2019 (online first 2018)
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Curriculum and Academic Development
Deposited On:2018-07-23
Last Modified:2021-09-07

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