Methodological and Quality Assurance Guide for Course Development

In this Guide you will find quality requirements for course development in the field of translation. For your orientation a summary of the requirement structure in form of course development stages is provided. At the end a reference for further reading is given.


Course development

1. Analyse context

2. Define course/lesson plan incl. content and methodology

3. Conduct course/training and assessment

(Quality) Evaluation

4. Analyse and reflect on the course/training and assessment

(Re)Action / Improvement

5. Up-date course/training and assessment according to feedback


6. → 3.


The basis of professional teaching practice is to clarify the institutional conditions. The legal framework for the concrete arrangement of the courses is provided through the respective curriculum. In the curriculum, study objectives are formulated through learning outcomes which describe the students’ competences. Information is also available, how the module relates to other modules within the overall programme.

ECTS credits indicate the amount of work required by students to achieve learning outcomes / specific study goals. Depending on the country, one ECTS credit point can equal on average between 25 and 30 study hours. Thus, for a course with 5 ECTS, a workload of 125-150 hours is estimated, including contact hours, e-learning[1], preparation and follow-up of the course and the exam.

Other information should be obtained regarding learning situation, nature of the subject, students’ and teacher’s capabilities.  The context analysis is the basis for important decisions about the course.  Following worksheet (1) supports you in reflection of the course context information.




Specific Context of the Teaching / Learning Situation

How many students are in the class?


Is the course lower division, upper division, or graduate level?


How long and frequent are the class meetings?


How will the course be delivered: live, online, or in a classroom or lab?


General Context of the Learning Situation

What physical elements of the learning environment will affect the class?

What learning expectations are placed on this course or curriculum by:

the university?




the profession?




Nature of the Subject

Is this subject primarily theoretical, practical, or a combination?


Is the subject primarily convergent or divergent?


Are there important changes or controversies occurring within the field?


Characteristics of the Learners

What is the life situation of the learners (e.g., working, family, professional goals)?


What prior knowledge, experiences, and initial feelings do students usually have about this subject?


What are their learning goals, expectations, and preferred learning styles?


Characteristics of the Teacher

What beliefs and values does the teacher have about teaching and learning?


What is his/her attitude toward: the subject?




What level of knowledge or familiarity does s/he have with this subject?


What are his/her strengths in teaching?


Worksheet 1: Context analysis (Pierce College 2015)


A popular approach for course design is the backward approach (Wiggins & McTighe 2005). Simply put, backward design consists of three stages (Worksheet 2):

1. Identify desired learning goals and outcomes.

2. Determine how students will demonstrate what they know and can do.

3. Plan instructional strategies, resources, and learning experiences (activities) that best helps students reach learning goals and outcomes.




Learning Goals

What will students be able to know and do as a consequence of your class?


Learning Outcomes

What will students know and do?



How will students demonstrate what they know and can do?


Learning Experience

What course, experiences and activities will students engage in and do?


Worksheet 2: Course design

For transparency reasons following information should be announced due time: objectives, content and method of the course, participation requirements, examination conditions, incl. minimum requirements for students for a positive assessment and assessment criteria.


  1. ICT and the Quality of Teaching – on the basis of teaching practises and research results

Educational innovations, especially the introduction of information and communication technologies into the teaching practices of Higher education training institutions are among the highest and most important challenges and topics of all the European countries.

Following the conclusions of the OECD study on ‘ICT and the quality of learning’, for the successful implementation of ICT it is prerequisite to have an adequate technical infrastructure to ensure that trainers do not lose interest when they are repeatedly confronted with breakdowns, or long servicing times and to ensure that they can use a computer in a lesson according to their own ideas and wishes.  Acting as a partner to the students and making use of their knowledge can fill considerable gaps in the technical expertise of the teacher. Teacher competence, however, is most decidedly sought after in issues concerning the integration of ICT in lessons and in the creation of learning scenarios. This however does not depend on the teacher’s EDP skills but on his ability to put the specific qualities of ICT to full pedagogic use, integrating it into his lesson.




Problem-based Learning (PBL): An active learning approach focusing on the process of solving real and meaningful problems through asking and refining questions, debating ideas, making predictions, designing plans and/or experiments, collecting and analysing data, drawing conclusions, communicating ideas and findings to others, asking new questions, and creating artefacts. Therefore, PBL is the art of problem solving. The approach is also inquiry-based when students are active in creating the problem.

Inquiry-based Learning (IBL): An active learning approach where students follow methods and practices similar to those of professional scientists in order to construct knowledge (Keselman, 2003). It can be defined as a process of discovering new causal relations, with the learner formulating hypotheses and testing them by conducting experiments and/or making observations. Often it is viewed as an approach to solving problems and involves the application of several problem solving skills (Pedaste & Sarapuu, 2006). Inquiry-based learning is gaining popularity in teaching due to the recent technical developments that allow the inquiry process to be supported by electronic learning environments.

Both learning processes[2] follow a structured working order consisting of nine phases, all of them crucial for a successful learning process (Table 1):






Stimulating curiosity about a topic and addressing a learning challenge through a problem statement

Introduction of the new project/concept and recall of relevant knowledge and skills

Conceptualization – Questioning

Generating research questions based on the stated problem.

Discussion/Analysis/Evaluation of different research questions and their eligibility

Conceptualization - Hypothesis Generation

Generating hypotheses regarding the stated problem.

Analysis/Evaluation of the hypotheses

Investigation – Exploration

Systematic and planned data generation on the basis of a research question

Evaluation of possible methods of investigation

Investigation - Experimentation

Designing and conducting an experiment in order to test a hypothesis.

Offer suggestions and guidance

Investigation - Data Interpretation

Making meaning out of collected data and synthesizing new knowledge

Monitor progress, organise a session of progress reports


Drawing conclusions from the data. Comparing inferences made based on data with hypotheses or research questions.

Give feedback to the conclusions, provide other possible solutions to consider


Presenting outcomes of an inquiry phase or of the whole inquiry cycle to others (peers, teachers) and collecting feedback from them. Discussion with others.

Organise presentation sessions for the groups to share their findings, give feedback to the presentation


Describing, critiquing and evaluating the whole inquiry cycle or a specific phase. Inner discussion.

Students summarize the process, report problems or difficulties encountered during the task.

Discuss lesson learnt, assess the project, give feedback to the students

The teacher rethinks the entire task cycle and makes improvement for future classes.

Table 1: Working phases (Pedaste et al. 2015 and Li et al. 2015 adapted by Krajcso 2018)


Current pedagogical tendencies advocate assessment that revolves around competences rather than only contents. Assessment is a means of verifying whether established objectives have been fulfilled, and whether and to what extent students have acquired the relevant competences (Galán-Mañas & Hurtado 2015). Further, assessment refers to obtaining information on the learning process with a view to making grading-related decisions, identifying students’ needs or establishing how the process is progressing.  Assessment is characterised by a range of aspects, thus, it is advisable to design an assessment plan. Answering the checklist’s questions will support your planning procedure (Worksheet 4).

Checklist’s questions



What is the main purpose of the assessment?

• Providing diagnostic assessment (identification of students’ prior competence before the learning process begins)

• Providing formative assessment (assessment of teaching and learning process and progress)

• Providing summative assessment (grading)


For what is the assessment?

• Determining placement (e.g. at a particular starting point in a training course);

• Accreditation (e.g. for entry into a professional body);

• Credit transfer (e.g. to allow student mobility between universities);

• Completion of a course


When should assessment occur?

• Initial assessment (before a learning process begins)

• Continuous assessment (throughout a learning process)

• Final assessment (at the end of a learning process)


Who is the assessor?

• Self-assessment (students assess themselves)

• Peer-assessment (students assess one another)

• Hetero-assessment (assessment by an assessor whose level of knowledge or skills differs from that of the assesse, for example, a lecturer assessing a student or a customer assessing a professional)


What broad area is being assessed?

translation, review, revision, ICT competence subtitling, specific language combinations, etc.


What narrow area is being assessed?

language 1 and language 2 knowledge, transfer competence, speed, accuracy, memory, terminology, cultural knowledge


What competence is being assessed?

• strategic competences

• instrumental competences

• linguistic-contrastive competences


What kind of assessment instrument is used?

a timed translation, questionnaires, a multiple choice test, reflective diary, reports, translation process recordings, portfolio etc.


What kind of assessment task is used?

translations with process/product analysis, translation revision using a change-tracking tool, report on the most useful documentary research tools


What kind of performance scale is used for the instruments?

from 0 to 5 or 10; from 0% to 100%, 0 to 100 points


How are the performance scales weighted?

e.g. linguistic skills in the SL 20%

transfer / translation skills 15%

linguistic skills in the TL 30%

rigor / discipline 15%

bibliography and CAT skills 15%

work methodology 5%


What kind of results does the performance scale generate?

poor/insufficient/sufficient/good/excellent, a qualitative description of performance, a numerical score based on objective items, a pass/fail result, etc.


What are the reporting mechanisms?

• Who receives feedback (e.g. candidate, instructor, institution)?

• When does feedback occur (e.g. immediately, months later)?

• How is feedback given (e.g. qualitatively, quantitatively)?


How valid is the assessment?

Assessment is realistic (simulate real situations that require students to make use of their acquired competences), appropriate, fair and comprehensible


How reliable is the assessment?

The results can be reproduced by different stakeholders (students / assessors)


Worksheet 3: Assessment plan (Campbell & Hale 2003 and Galán-Mañas & Hurtado 2015 adapted by Krajcso 2018)



Quality or academic quality is a way of describing how well the learning opportunities available to students help them to achieve their qualification. Quality is about making sure that appropriate and effective teaching, support, assessment and learning resources are provided for students.

The following worksheets are aimed to support you in self-reflection (Worksheet 4) and independent reflection (Worksheet 5) about your course. The questions apply to intensive courses delivered over a week, or those that are delivered over the course of a semester or a year.




General questions

How long have you been in a teaching within HE?


What do you like about your course/s?


What three things from your course/s did you find most useful?


What three things from your course/s did you find least useful?


What would you like to change about your course/s?




How, if at all, have your expectations of the course/s changed since you started?


How have the students’ individual aims been addressed and accommodated in your course/s?


How important do you think your course/s will be in relation to students’ future career aspirations?


What plans do you have to continue to develop your teaching-related knowledge, skills and practice?



In what ways have /are you engaged with pedagogic literature and theory to develop your practice?


Have you implemented ideas from the pedagogic literature in your practice? Please explain.


What skills around teaching and learning have you develop so far?



What mechanisms are you using to reflect on your practice?


In what ways, if at all, has reflecting on your experiences influenced your practice?



Do you have ongoing discussions about teaching and learning concepts with your peers?


In what ways has your engagement in teaching and learning changed communities?


How have your wider teaching and learning contacts helped develop your teaching practice?


How do you share good practice with your peers?


What plans do you have to share good practice with your peers?


Worksheet 4: Self-evaluation of a course (Kneale et al. 2016 adapted by Krajcso 2018)



Overall, I rate the module:

1 (very good)  2          3          4          5 (very poor)

Overall, does the course/module help/support you to reach the declared goals?

Yes No I do not know

What do you like best about this course/module?


What would you like to change about the course/ module?


What suggestions do you have to improve the activities?


Worksheet 5: Independent course evaluation (Vanderbilt University 2018 adapted by Krajcso 2018)



Action research is a multifaceted approach to seeking answers to local problems. AR follows a spiral: observe – reflect – plan – act – evaluate – modify in ever repeated cycles. In AR students take an active role in their learning process and learn to ‘think’ and question rather than to ‘know’. Students and teachers become partners, members of a mutually supportive learning team by carrying out “living inquiry”. Worksheet 6 helps you to design your action research (project).

Research steps

Action (Research)

Own interpretation

Identification of a research issue

Review your current practice


Formulation of a research question

Identify an aspect / a problem that you want to investigate / solve


Research design

Identify the methodology (instruments) for the investigation of the aspect/problem


Data gathering

Take action, collect and organize data


Evidence generation

Interpret data and plan future action / solution



Modify practice in light of the data interpretation/evaluation


Test the validity of the claim

Monitor your modified action


Generate theory from the research

Review and evaluate the modified action


Worksheet 6: Action research design



Vanderbilt University (2018): In-class feedback form

Kneale P., Winter J., Turner R., Spowart L. and Muneer R., (2016) Evaluating teaching development activities in higher education: A toolkit

Pedaste, M., Mäeots, M., Siiman, L. A., de Jong, T., van Riesen, S. A., Kamp, E. T., & Tsourlidaki, E. (2015)  Phases of inquiry-based learning: Definitions and the inquiry cycle. Educational research review, 14, 47-61.

Pedaste, M., & Sarapuu, T. (2006). Developing an effective support system for inquiry learning in a Web-based environment. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 22(1), 47–62.

Pierce College 2015 Worksheet: Situational Factors to Consider

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2005) Understanding by Design, 2nd Ed. Prentice Hall.

Keselman, A. (2003) Supporting inquiry learning by promoting normative understanding of multivariable causality. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 40, 898–921.

Action research in Translation Studies:

Massey, G., Jud, P., & Ehrensberger-Dow, M. (2015) Building competence and bridges: The potential of action research in translator education. In: P. Pietrzak & M. Deckert (Eds.), Constructing translation competence (pp. 27-48). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Nicodemus, B. & Laurie S. (2015) Action Research. In: : Angelelli, C. V. & Brian JB (eds.) 2015 . 'Researching Translation and Interpreting. 157-167

Whitfield, A. (2017) Action Research in Translation Studies: Building Relationships with Education Science, Library Science and Literary Translator Communities. In: Taivalkoski-Shilov, K.; Liisa T. & Maarit K. (eds.) 'Communities in Translation and Interpreting.'

Implementation of PBL and IBL into translation training:

Bernardini, S. (2016) Discovery learning in the language-for-translation classroom: Corpora as learning aids, Cadernos de traduçao, 2016, Issue 1, 14-23

Biel L. (2011) Professional Realism in the Legal Translation Classroom: Translation Competence and Translator Competence. Meta, 56(1), 162–178

Galán-Mañas A. (2011) Translating Authentic Technical Documents in Specialised Translation Classes. The Journal of Specialised Translation 16:109–125

García González M. & Díaz M. T. V.(2015) Guided Inquiry and Project-Based Learning in the field of specialised translation: a description of two learning experiences, Perspectives, 23:1, 107-123

Kerkkä, K. (2009) Experiment in the application of problem-based learning to a translation course. Vakki:n julkaisut, 36, pp. 216–227. Retrieved from

Kiraly, D. (2005) Project-Based Learning: A Case for Situated Translation. Meta, 50(4), 1098–1111.

Li D., Zhang Ch. & He Y. (2015) Project-based learning in teaching translation: students’ perceptions, The Interpreter and Translator Trainer, 9:1, 1-19

Liu J. X. (2014) Task-based Teaching of Computer-aided Translation in a Progressive Manner, Translating and The Computer, 36, 235-242

Mitchell-Schuitevoerder, R. (2013) A project-based methodology in translator training  In: Way, C.; Vandepitte S.; Meylaerts R. & Bartlomiejczyk M. (eds.) 'Tracks and Treks in Translation Studies.' 127-142

Robinson-Fryer, B.-J.; María Dolores O. L. & Juncal Gutiérrez Artacho (2016) After Bologna: Learner- and Competence-Centred Translator Training for 'Digital Natives'" In: Martín de León, Celia & Víctor González Ruiz (eds.) 'From the Lab to the Classroom and Back Again. Perspectives on Translation and Interpreting Training.'

Schmitt H. (2008) Translator Competence through Project-Based Translatory Praxis” in “Learning Theories and Practice in Translation Studies“ Frank Austermühl and Joachim Kornelius (eds.) Lighthouse Unlimited – Band 138, 63-85


Campbell S. & Hale S.(2003) Translation and interpreting assessment in the context of educational measurement. In: Gunilla Andermann and Margaret Rogers (eds.) Translation today: trends and perspectives pp. 205 – 224.

Galán-Mañas A. & Hurtado Albir A. (2015) Competence assessment procedures in translator training, The Interpreter and Translator Trainer, 9:1, 63-82

[1] E-learning in the context of university teaching is intended to support students in achieving the study objectives and to promote continuous learning and to foster understanding processes. For more information see User Manual for Moodle/SPUR

[2] The only difference can be found in the problem design, which is in PBL the task of a teacher while in IBL the learners’ task.