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Strategic Curriculum Change Book Group Discussion Presentation


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Strategic Curriculum Change Book Group Discussion Presentation

  1. 1. + Strategic Curriculum Change Global Trends in Universities
  2. 2. + KNOWLEDGE, RELATIONSHIP S, AND NETWORKS Part I: Curricular Coherence
  3. 3. + Chapter 1: The networked curriculum  Need for curricular review: “complex questions around the world about how curricula can respond to increased demands and increased diversity, often in the face of declining state-funded resources, themes discussed throughout the book” (p. 4).  Consideration of the role of higher education “shifting from that of a social institution to an industry” (p. 5).  Conversations about Higher Ed dominated by access and completion  Study of curriculum covers areas:  Subject area, Organization of curriculum process, Pedagogy, Assessment, and Learning outcomes (aka “attributes” or “skills”)  Tension of theory-based academic knowledge versus practical knowledge  …”universities are not strategically self-adjusting, because the curriculum is perceived to have fallen out of alignment with what is needed” (p. 10).  Networks, as opposed to hierarchies, are effective in facilitating interdisciplinary initiatives and the “open structure of networks also facilitates innovation and the sharing of tacit knowledge and expertise” (p. 13).  “Network forms of organsation can facilitate the transfer of legitimation and status” (p. 14).
  4. 4. + Chapter 2 – Achieving curriculum coherence: Curriculum design and delivery as social practice  Aim of chapter was to “explore the „fragmentation‟ of the curriculum as it impacts the student and lecturer identities and to consider a social practice understanding of the curriculum as the basis for enabling greater academic coherence” (p. 21)  Focus on curriculum as engaging with disciplinary knowledge (as opposed to acquiring it) = mutually emancipatory experience for students and lecturers  Develop both:  Students‟ “relational experience of the curriculum” (p. 27)  Lecturers‟ “commitment to historicising and contextualising the formation of that curriculum” (p. 27)  In order to finally “generate a learning experience that is communal and collaborative” (p. 27).  Use of language can provide intersections for students to create coherence in a multi-disciplinary curriculum  Curriculum practice currently accentuates the separation between:  Disciplinary knowledge, Academic research, and Teaching practice
  5. 5. + Chapter 3 – Case study: A tradition of reform (The curriculum at Brown University)  “Open Curriculum” or “New Curriculum” = Brown undergraduates shape their education from a set of principles about liberal education, making connections between difference disciplines and classes  They wanted their curricular redesign process to exemplify the spirit of the open and inclusive process that curriculum is at Brown  New curriculum has:  A writing requirement: work on writing throughout their college careers, now uses a rubric (WRIT)  Ask: a custom, electronic advising tool that brings student information, handbooks, other resources onto a single website to support consistent approach to goals. (Also has a portfolio function.)  Focal Point: a web-based tool that shows the array of curricular choices for students  “the most important effect of the open curriculum: the opening of the disciplines to the broader aims of a liberal education” (p. 39)
  7. 7. + Chapter 4- Curriculum Organization and Outcomes  Institutions develop norms, behaviors, and embedded rules at various institutional levels  Four primary ways to enable general education courses in a curriculum  Condense disciplinary knowledge  Lengthen a degree program  Move some disciplinary knowledge to the Master‟s level  Extend the curriculum beyond traditional boundaries  Changes must connect with all levels of the organization to be effective  Accountability of Higher Education has led to increased usage of learning outcomes within a curriculum  Should be consistency within curriculum relating to content, process, pedagogy, assessment and learning outcomes  Context plays a major role for curriculum changes  Professional and accrediting bodies are instrumental when seeking changes
  8. 8. + Chapter 5- Transforming student learning: Undergraduate curricular reform at the University of Hong Kong Context of reform at the University of Hong Kong  Highly selective and academically focused  Early specialization and narrow discipline focus  Social and Economic developments have produced need for a broad knowledge base “Transforming Student Learning” (TSL)  Establishment of six educational aims that must be connected to course learning outcomes  Pursuit of academic excellence, critical intellectual inquiry and lifelong learning  Enacting personal and profession ethics, critical self-reflection and greater understanding of others  Tackling novel situations and ill-defined problems  Intercultural communication and multicultural understanding  Communication and collaboration  Leadership and advocacy for the improvement of the human condition  Common Core Curriculum- Four areas of inquiry in which students could select specific courses related to their area(s) of interest  Humanities  Science and Technology  Global Issues  China: State, Culture, and Society  Experiential learning -major component of the curriculum to develop problem solving skills
  9. 9. + Chapter 6- Shaping the curriculum: A Characteristics Approach Concerns related to student‟s capacity to learn  Research Intensiveness- Belief that research can be beneficial for teaching outcomes  Aim is to create an environment where student and teachers are co-constructors of knowledge  Interdisciplinarity- Increasing as breadth becomes a focus in higher education  Most common approach has been to reduce the core curriculum and leave room for electives  “Need to balance providing enough breadth to sufficiently cover the material while at the same time providing enough depth appropriate for the university level.” (p. 80).  Community Engagement- An attempt to increase student awareness of social & civic problems  Working with the community should be mutually beneficial for the student, institution, & community  Global Connectedness- Internationalization efforts are increasing  Internationalism- “Process of integrating an international, intercultural, or global dimension into the purpose, functions, and delivery of higher education.” (p. 85).  Only focusing on international students will be ineffective for supporting internationalization  Academic Literacy- Key is to teach writing in disciplinary settings  Key question is how to bridge the gap with secondary schools “A challenge for institutions is to find a way of ensuring the adoption of such characteristics in a meaningful and achievable way.” (p. 89).
  10. 10. + Chapter 7- Assessment in curriculum change  “Strategic curriculum change requires that all aspects of teaching and learning should be reviewed to make sure that each is playing its full part in contributing positively to students‟ experiences.” (p. 92).  Weak alignment between research on assessment & implementation  Testing culture in which students only care about their grade, not learning the material  Excessive summative assessments with few opportunities for altered teaching methods to help students learn the material  “Any conceptualisation of assessment must recognise that assessment encapsulates any activity that collects evidence or information so that a judgment can be made about a person‟s achievement.” (p. 95).  Issues relating to the five characteristics from chapter 6  Academic Literary- Opportunity for meaningful dialogue between student & faculty  Community Engagement- Issue of assessing less tangible outcomes of experiences  Global Connectedness- Generally product focused rather than the learning process  Interdisciplinarity- Explicit assessment methods needed to integrate diverse curriculum  Research Rich- How can the assessment stress the importance of the student role as a researcher
  12. 12. + Chapter 8- Change: Processes and Resources  Institutional Cultures impact process and results of curricular developments:  Collegial- Change comes about through consensus  Bureaucratic- Close adherence to rules and procedures  Enterprise- Encourages initiative in pursuit of financial gains  Corporate- Expectation that institution will be focused on corporate objectives  While curriculum changes initiate from an institutional level, much of the necessary implementation work takes place at the department/division level  Joint ownership of the initiative is imperative for success  A number of categorizations for change have evolved:  Technical-Rational- Assumes change can be planned and implemented through intervention  Resource Allocation- Assumes that the institution responds like a market  Diffusionist- Works with early adopters to gain support for initiative  Continuous Improvement- Empowers continuous thinking to foster better results  Complexity- Assumes unpredictable results; change agents are pragmatic
  13. 13. + Chapter 9- People and Change: Academic Work and Leadership  “Curriculum change requires not only changed practices but often changed values too.” (p. 133)  Two way communication with various internal and external stakeholders is an important part of the curriculum development process  Students, Faculty, Employers, Community, Etc.  Faculty members often identify allegiance to a department or discipline, not an institution  Strong and consistent leadership is necessary for successful change  Change process should also include people throughout the organization structure  Leading practices in curriculum change  Identifying need and opportunity  Working with motivation  Co-ordinating and Directing  Communicating
  14. 14. + Chapter 10- Case Study: The whole-institution curriculum renewal undertaken by the University of Melbourne  Prior to curriculum renewal, institution was arguably best is Australia  Australian higher education very homogeneous with little differentiation  “The Melbourne Model”  “…developing graduates with broader skills through a small set of more general three-year degrees while shifting professional training almost entirely into graduate level programs.” (p. 145)  Six broad degrees: 20 to 25 percent of coursework taken outside of concentration area  Change Process: 2005-2011  Commission established; met weekly for academic year to establish new model  Sought quick transition to prevent students from entering institution during flux period  Key external and internal stakeholders were engaged throughout the process  Political implications as a result of funding allocations and student enrollments  Key Outcomes as of 2011  Institution appears more flexible, adaptive, and nimble  Externally evaluated and praised by various agencies within Australia  Highest retention rate within Australia
  16. 16. + Chapter 11 – Supporting change through development and evaluation  “Curriculum review is likely to benefit from effective development support” (p. 163)  Approaches to development – through 1) people and 2) the organization of resources  Staff Development (SD): an HR-based approach for all staff in the organization  Educational Development (ED): support for student learning from a staff perspective  Academic Development (AD): holistic look at academic work  Organizational Development (OD): based on organizational focus  Leadership and organizational development: role of leader is “being principally about the enabling of learning” (p. 167)  Learning organizations have: 1) systems thinking, 2) personal mastery, 3) mental models, 4) shared vision, and 5) team learning  Student learning and development: “many institutions make the student experience the focal point and organising principle in their support for teaching and learning”(p. 169)  Evaluation: “External evaluation of the student experience has been a significant influence on how institutions organise their support for it” (p. 171). Recommendations include: 1. Institutions should adjust own practices over time, creating networks of evaluation practice 2. Evaluation should occur in the real world, with how institutions really work 3. Main purpose of evaluation should be improvement 4. Evaluation should focus on institutional goals  Four domains of evaluation: 1) National/Systemic, 2) Institutional, 3) Programme, 4) Self
  17. 17. + Chapter 12 – The physical and virtual environment for learning  “Rapid technological change raises questions about the traditional purposes and boundaries of universities” (p. 179)  “Many of the challenges of aligning support with the curriculum are created by divisions within institutions, which are often archaic structures that have not been updated with changes in universities” (p. 180) 1. Impact of communication technologies 2. Opportunities for learning 3. Idea of virtual and physical learning spaces 4. Institutional support  Teaching institutions more technologically advanced than research institutions typically  Three levels of benefit gained from tech use in education: 1. Efficient processes 2. Enhanced processes 3. New or transformed processes  “The majority of university teaching remains relatively traditional, with a strong element of lecture- transmitted content, usually linked with work in smaller groups through seminars, laboratories and tutorials” (p. 186)  Difficult to truly evaluate the impact of innovation than to capture data about technology usage  Communication technologies “alter the ways in which students and staff gain access to information, share it with others and use it to produce their own outcomes” (p. 190)
  18. 18. + Chapter 13 – Case study: Curriculum structure as a key variable affecting performance in higher education: The case of South Africa  Case study is an illustration of the key challenges facing sub-Saharan Africa  “The question of what kind of learning should be achieved through higher education is at least as significant in South Africa and other African countries as in the first world, given the need for different forms of high-level expertise to address their pressing developmental needs and the growing North-South divide” (p. 192)  Average higher education participation rates:  North America and Western Europe: 70%  Sub-Saharan Africa: 6%  Performance of higher education system in Africa is poor:  30% of first-time students graduate within 5 years  In best-performing schools, 50% graduate within 5 years  “Racial disparities remain severe” (p. 195)  “fewer than 5% of the black youth are succeeding in any form of higher education” (p. 195)
  19. 19. + Chapter 13 – Case study: Curriculum structure as a key variable affecting performance in higher education: The case of South Africa (Continued)  Basic curriculum framework taken originally from Scottish system, which was based on an “small, privileged, and largely homogenous student body” (p. 200)  Academic community reluctant to view critical curriculum change as necessary: 1. May be that “underlying parameters and assumptions are so embedded in the system they are virtually invisible” (p. 200): CONNECTION: Hidden Curriculum 2. When parameters discussed, they are viewed as unchangeable 3. Maintaining status quo seen as = maintaining academic standards by many academics 4. A portion of the student body does succeed in given system  Most commonly mentioned solution is the development of a community college system to enable greater participation and scale higher education success for students
  20. 20. + Chapter 14 – Towards a more successful curriculum change  “The question of what is to be taught and learnt in universities will always be highly contentious. Answering it requires us to take a position on the kind of society we want, how we believe individuals can and should relate to others, the kinds of knowledge that we value and how we believe that people learn most effectively” (p. 206)  Commonalities of successful curricular change initiatives:  “clear message that is communicated effectively” (p. 207)  Strong leadership  Acknowledgement and use of networked curriculum approach  Acknowledging diversity  Promoting unbounded learning  Organizational climate “the encouragement of review and adjustment at all levels of the institution as a normal part of the way the institution works” (p. 211)  “Some of the more effective curriculum renewals, particularly in the US, occur when an institution has a clear sense of what it aspires to be and adjusts its provision to ensure that it is keeping abreast of contemporary needs, but without losing sight of its own institutional traditions” (p. 211)
  21. 21. + Discussion Prompt  This is a brainstorming and reflection posting, based on the intersections of our in-class readings with this book, as well as your constructed knowledge of your institution.  Select one of the Case Studies from the book  Answer the following questions for ONE of the case studies:  What three things in this case study would work in your institution? Why?  What elements in this case study would not work? Why?  How would you create solutions to the elements of the case study that would not work within your institutional culture?
  22. 22. + References