Improved outcomes

December 15, 2011

Geoffrey Channon is quite right to warn us of the careless use of "neoliberal business-speak" such as delivery of courses (Letters, 8 December). However, he is wrong to include in that pernicious vocabulary the term "learning outcomes" when describing courses. This is a usefully student- and learning-oriented replacement for "objectives", which were invariably written in terms of teaching and content.

In fact, objectives are more suitable for delivery than are learning outcomes. If the learning outcomes to which Channon refers do, as he claims, confine and predetermine teaching and learning, they need not. Better ones can be written that really express what we expect students will learn from our courses. That is not marketisation, just clarity in expressing our intentions in terms of our students' learning. They have a right to that.

Stephen Bostock, Head of the Centre for Learning, Teaching and Assessment, Glyndwr University

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