Curricula Studies in Higher Education


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This lecture looks at the different factors such as; globalization, internationalization, and policy, and how these factors produce academic discourses that subsequently impact curriculum development.

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  • Curricula Studies in Higher Education

    1. 1. Introduction – 4210 – Unit 2 Berit Karseth 29.October 2007
    2. 2. Unit 2: Students and Staff in Higher Education <ul><li>Recent research and theorising about research, teaching and student learning, and a number of theoretical frameworks within which new development in the organization of learning, teaching and assessment can be understood, will be presented and discussed. In addition there will be a focus on curriculum development. Topics to be included are: curriculum as a signpost for educational change, from mental models to contextual/ situated models of learning and expertise, assessment - between learning and control, students journey through higher education, academic roles and challenges, and the relationship between teaching and research. </li></ul>
    3. 3. Cont. <ul><li>The overall perspective emphasizes the importance of ethical deliberations concerning the enterprise of teaching and research and the importance of a critical understanding of the past and present teaching and learning traditions </li></ul>
    4. 4. Curriculum studies in higher education Berit Karseth 29.10.07
    5. 5. Ronald Barnett et. al <ul><li>For all the discussion of the changes, often profound, that have taken place in contemporary higher education, the undergraduate curriculum had commanded rather less attention than might be expected. Yet the curriculum remains one of the most important products that higher education institutions offer to their customers (Barnett et al 2003, p.23) </li></ul>
    6. 6. Curriculum <ul><li>A college’s program’s mission, purpose of what is important for students to learn </li></ul><ul><li>A set of experiences that some authorities believe all student should have. </li></ul><ul><li>The set of courses offered to students </li></ul><ul><li>The set of courses students actually elect from those available </li></ul><ul><li>The content of a specific discipline </li></ul><ul><li>The time and credit frame in which the college provides education (Stark and Lattuca 2002) </li></ul><ul><li>[Curriculum] has been one of those places where we have told ourselves who we are (Rudolf 1977, in Reid, 1992) </li></ul><ul><li>Curriculum as something significant to the individual – concerning the self. </li></ul><ul><li>Curriculum as regulations and the major source of reproduction of class relations. </li></ul>
    7. 7. The study of the curriculum <ul><li>Levels </li></ul><ul><li>Socio political level (international/ national) </li></ul><ul><li>Institutional level </li></ul><ul><li>Programme level </li></ul><ul><li>Classroom level </li></ul><ul><li>Individual level </li></ul><ul><li>Disciplinary level </li></ul><ul><li>Perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>A consensus perspective / a conflict perspective </li></ul><ul><li>A rational perspective / a social constructivist perspective </li></ul><ul><li>Approaches analysing changes or stability </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on curriculum understanding or curriculum development </li></ul><ul><li>A historical interest / a bureaucratic interest/ a knowledge interest </li></ul>
    8. 8. Dominant narrative of curricular change <ul><li>“ Knowledge makes its way into curricula as part of a lengthy but rational and linear process. Researchers discover new knowledge that is incorporated into peer reviewed journals, then into textbooks, finally appearing as curricula in the classroom (Slaughter 2002, p. 261) </li></ul><ul><li>Slaughter, S (2002) The Political Economy of Curriculum-Making in American Universities. In Brint, S (ed) The City of Intellect. Stanford: Stanford University Press, p.260-289. </li></ul>
    9. 9. Slaughter, Sheila 1997 Class, race and gender and the construction of postsecondary curricula in the United State: social movement, professionalization and political economic theories of curricular change Journal of Curriculum Studies, Volume 29, no. 1, p. 1-30
    10. 11. Hidden Curriculum in Higher Education <ul><li>Manifested in the physical environment </li></ul><ul><li>The buildings themselves tell you who belongs in there …. What’s on the walls tells you who belongs and who doesn’t. Some people are in and some people are out. Some knowledge is privileged and some isn’t. Yet we want to seem like we are inclusive and embracing (in Margolis p. 29) </li></ul>
    11. 12. Curriculum in higher ed. Contesting discourses <ul><li>A professional programme </li></ul><ul><li>An interdisciplinary programme </li></ul><ul><li>An international perspective </li></ul><ul><li>A student centred perspective </li></ul><ul><li>A modularised structure </li></ul><ul><li>An academic programme </li></ul><ul><li>Focus is on specific disciplines </li></ul><ul><li>A national perspective </li></ul><ul><li>A subject based perspective </li></ul><ul><li>A unified programme </li></ul>
    12. 13. Discourse <ul><li>“ I use the term discourse to mean historically, socially and culturally specific bodies of meaning that constitute the meaning that events and experiences hold for social actors (cf.Gee 2000). Furthermore, in line with Mills (1997) a discourse is viewed as a set of statements which occur within an institutional setting and which make sense because of an oppositional relation to other discourses” </li></ul><ul><li>(Karseth 2006). </li></ul>
    13. 14. More on discourse: <ul><li>” To enter into the study of discourse, therefore, is to enter into debates about the foundations on which knowledge is built, subjectivity is constructed and society is managed. These are debates about the nature of meaning. .. (..) at the heart of discourse studies are some complex but potent and profound discussions on what it means to be human, what counts as ’real’ and what the ’social’ is”. </li></ul><ul><li>(Wetherell, M et al. (ed) 2001. Discourse Theory and practice. A reader. London: Sage Publications, p. 5) </li></ul>
    14. 15. Paula Ensor’s article <ul><li>Research questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is viewed from the perspectives of government and higher education institutions, as the most significant contemporary ideas for higher education curriculum reform? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How can we describe the implementation of policy on curriculum restructuring in faculties as science and humanities </li></ul></ul>
    15. 16. Professional/ vocational Disciplinary Low Exchange Therapeutic High Projective Introjective Discursive orientation Degree of student selection over curriculum
    16. 17. Questions addressed in my own article: <ul><li>What kind of curriculum models exist in today’s higher education? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the main discourses behind these models? </li></ul><ul><li>Do we see a shift in curriculum policy that challenge institutional values and practices? </li></ul>
    17. 18. Content-driven aims Mastery of conceptual structures, methods and modes of arguments Subject-based teaching Vertical-pedagogic relations Disciplinary knowledge Emphasis on cognitive coherence The disciplines situated in departments “ Subjects” offered on foundational-, intermediate- and graduate level Aims Pedagogy Content Structure Disciplinary curriculum Driving force: The knowledge production itself (cognitive legitimation)
    18. 19. Vocational-driven aims Mastery of specific skills and a shared knowledge repertoire Teacher-based/ subject-based teaching Vertical-pedagogic relations Multi-disciplinary knowledge Emphasis on the integration of theory and practice Unified cumulative programmes Regulated by national core curricula Aims Pedagogy Content Structure Vocational curriculum Driving force: The need of trained employees for human service, information and production (social legitimation)
    19. 20. Competence driven aims (learning outcome) Generic/transferable skills Student-based teaching Provider- consumer relations Multi-disciplinary knowledge Market relevance Modules Credits Aims Pedagogy Content Structure Credit Accumulation and Transfer Curriculum Driving force: International mobility, employability, competitiveness and universal participation (social legitimation)
    20. 21. A framework for Qualifications of The European Higher Education Area <ul><li>“ Learning outcomes statements are typically characterised by the use of active verbs expressing knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation, etc. With ‘outcomes-based approaches’, they have implications for qualifications, curriculum design, teaching, learning and assessment, as well as quality assurance. They are thus likely to form an important part of 21st century approaches to higher education (and, indeed, to education and training generally) and the reconsideration of such vital questions as to what, whom, how, where and when we teach and assess.” </li></ul><ul><li>(Bologna Working Group on Qualification Framework (2005). Ministry of Siceince, Technology and Innovation, Copenhagen, p. 38) </li></ul>
    21. 22. More on learning outcome <ul><li>“ The very nature and role of education is being questioned, now more than ever before, and learning outcomes are important tools in clarifying the results of learning for the student, citizen, employer and In terms of curriculum design and development, learning outcomes are at the forefront of educational change. </li></ul><ul><li>(…) They represent a change in emphasis from ‘teaching’ to ‘learning’ typified by what is known as the adoption of a student-centred approach, as opposed to the more traditional, teacher-centred viewpoint. Student-centred learning produces a focus on the teaching - learning - assessment relationships and the fundamental links between the design, delivery, assessment and measurement of learning” (ibid) </li></ul>
    22. 23. Discussion: <ul><li>The European curriculum reform: </li></ul><ul><li>The fallacy of instrumentalism or (following Shakespeare) “Much Ado about Nothing”? </li></ul>
    23. 24. Aims Pedagogy Content Structure Alternative discourse: Purpose: Educate students to contribute and to be responsible in local, national a global contexts. Towards technological and cultural citizenship – to educate criticality Driving force: Justice, democracy, solidarity, multiculturalism, environmental awareness and the global need of sustainable development
    24. 25. Stark and Lattuca: An academic plan should include the following elements : <ul><li>purpose </li></ul><ul><li>content </li></ul><ul><li>Sequence </li></ul><ul><li>Learners </li></ul><ul><li>Instructional processes, ( instructional activities) </li></ul><ul><li>Instructional recourses </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Adjustment </li></ul>
    25. 26. <ul><li>Seminar: The making of a curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>Group work: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Examine the curriculum of the master programme(s) by using one or more of the analytical frameworks /schemes presented in the literature (Barnett et al, Stark and Lattuca (from the reading list of 4100), Ensor, Karseth or others you find relevant ). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the significant ideas (concerning structure, content, pedagogy, evaluation /assessment) which the programme (s) build (s) on? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Write a short note on your conclusions for presentation in the plenum </li></ul></ul>