The Co:Lab Curriculum Design Process & Toolkit

Co:Lab is a developmental curriculum design approach developed by the Learning and Teaching Hub at the University of Brighton to support course teams engaging in curriculum design activities. We have been running Co:Lab since 2021 and provision has grown rapidly enabling support for over 40 course teams and over 100 workshops delivered in the last couple of years. In 2023/24 all courses going through Periodic Review and validation are offered the opportunity to engage with Co:Lab, through workshops and/or using the Co:Lab Toolkit (see below).  

Live workshops from the L&T Hub are available for Course Teams upon request, but to complement this provision and provide flexibility to colleagues, the Co:Lab Toolkit is available here and on the L&T Hub internal Sharepoint site to be used independently to guide curriculum enhancement discussions and decisions. There are two main areas of activity the Co:Lab Toolkit guides colleagues through:   

  • Co:Lab Course Curriculum Design – reviewing, planning and developing a course of study, aligned to School and institutional frameworks and policies, as well as external benchmarks and requirements of Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs).  
  • Co:Lab Module Learning Design – how learning will be supported in each module, through the design and alignment of learning outcomes, assessment activities, and student learning activities including modes of delivery, tools and technologies. 

Please read the following advice for preparing to use the toolkit. 

For Course or module teams using the Co:Lab Toolkit we suggest before you begin you organise the following:  

  • SPACE -Decide whether meeting on campus or MS Teams is preferable, and then book a room or create an MS Teams group for your Co:Lab curriculum design activities. The Co:Lab Toolkit resources are designed to enable online meetings and collaboration; the Course Design MS OneNote (see below) can be saved in your Teams files area. 
  • TIME- you will need up to 6 hours to work through the Course Design content (we suggest 2 x 3 hour meetings) and 2 hours for the module design. This can then be followed up by various meetings with relevant colleagues to take forward actions.  
  • INVITES – key colleagues who need to be involved include ~Course Leaders, Module leaders (particularly those leading shared modules across courses, subject leads, and if possible, your School lead for L&T or Quality. We also strongly encourage you to invite some of your students to participate and inform the discussions. Inviting graduate alumni, or a contact from industry to join in your discussions is also worth considering 
  • DEVICES – encourage colleagues and students to bring their devices if meeting on campus for co-editing the OneNote document  

Please contact Curriculum Enhancement Lead – Lucy Chilvers if you have any feedback or queries about the use of these resources. Learning and Teaching Hub 



Here is a summary of the Co:Lab Process and below is the Toolkit – a set of resources aligned to this process for you to use:  

The Co:Lab process involves staff and student partners working through a series of 6 stages of curriculum design involving planning, 2 course design workshops, 1 module design workshop, some work on course structure, and further team planning using the Co:Lab Toolkit.

The Co:Lab Curriculum Design Process 2023-24

Co:Lab Toolkit Resources:

  1. Planning and Preparing for Curriculum Design/ Periodic Review 
    Download a copy of this CoLab Planning pptx to guide your planning discussions together covering key aspects and points for consideration.
  2. Setting up online spaces – a Co:Lab Teams group for you to communicate and collaborate as a team of staff and students keeping all relevant documents and notes in one space. Ask Rebecca Wells ( in the L&T Hub to create you a Padlet if you’d like a tool for sharing reflections on your curriculum before and during your meetings.
  3. Course Design (Workshop 1) There are two Co:Lab Course Design workshops, please use the session plans, power point slides and accompanying OneNote to work collaboratively as a team in your curriculum design discussions.
    CoLab Course Design Workshop 1
    -Course Design MS OneNote for digital collaborative working- record all your notes in this document (for an editable version please open in the OneNote desktop App which you’ll need to download if you don’t have).
  4. Re/design Course Learning Outcomes & Structure
    -Course Learning Outcomes- Reflect as a team on what revisions need to be made to the Course Learning Outcomes. Consider changes to QAA Subject benchmarks, PSRB requirements, and aligning to principles from Brighton’s Curriculum Design Framework and Global Challenges agenda. This will be discussed in Workshop 2.
    -Course Structure- In preparation for workshop 2 where you will be developing a Course Assessment strategy, confirm the new Course Structure with Modules and pathways and if possible, summarise this as a diagram or table.
  5. Course Design (workshop 2)
    CoLab Course Design Workshop 2
    -Course Design MS OneNote for digital collaborative working- record all your notes in this document
  6. Module Learning Design – The module level learning design resources are available as a centrally run bookable workshop or you can work through the resources at your own pace: 
    CoLab Module Design Workshop 1- Aims Learning Outcomes & Assessments
    CoLab Module Design Workshop 2- Learning Activities, Digital Tools & Modes
    Handout 1 – Verbs for writing learning outcomes
    Handout 2 – ABC LD description and shape (1)
    Handout 3 – UoB Learning Types Activities & Tools
    -Handout 4 – ABC LD storyboard (or a Padlet board supplied upon request to Rebecca Wells in the L&T Hub)
  7. Co:Lab Toolkit, Resources and L&T Partner support – You can continue to engage with Extension activities in the MS OneNote document and you can get in touch with your School’s L&T Partner for further support to discuss your curriculum design and your Quality Services Advisor for issues related to your periodic review. There are also a number of other resources to support the implementation of the Curriculum Design Framework and support preparation for Periodic Review as linked to below. 

Please contact Curriculum Enhancement Lead – Lucy Chilvers if you have any feedback or queries about the use of these resources. Learning and Teaching Hub, Brighton.

For Brighton colleagues, if you have any specific enquiries about your Periodic Reviews, please contact your Quality Services Advisor. 

For further details about the evaluation of the Co:Lab 21/22 pilot with perspectives and experiences shared from staff and students involved, please read the following article: 

Chilvers, L. (2022). An Introduction to the Co:Lab Curriculum Design Process at the University of Brighton. SEDA Educational Developments Magazine. 23.3, pp. 6-10. 

 These resources and toolkit are currently being built upon through a collaborative research project in 2023: 

Chilvers, L., Eve, J., Humphreys, J and Fossey, P. (November 2022 onwards) University of Warwick WIHEA External Collaboration Fund. Research exploring the digital tools and blended modes for enabling a flexible and inclusive approach to curriculum design. £3994 funding awarded.   

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

Emilie Hayter • December 7, 2022

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