Students as Co-creators of Curricula

Report
Students as co-creators of curricula
Dr Catherine Bovill,
Senior Lecturer, Academic Development Unit
Dublin Region Higher Education Alliance 30th November 2012
Overview
 Background and why co-create curricula?
 A ladder model to explore possible and
desirable levels of participation
 The importance of context
 Key design decisions made by staff
 Implications
First year as step 1 on a ladder
 Retention, engagement and empowerment
 Academic and social integration (Tinto, 1987)
 Importance of early feedback, active learning, group
work (Bovill et al, 2008)
 Developing academic learning skills
(Harvey et al, 2006)
 Need good teachers in first year
What do we mean by ‘curriculum’?
Fraser & Bosanquet’s (2006) curriculum definitions
a) Structure and content of a unit
b) Structure and content of a programme of study
c) The students’ experience of learning
d) A dynamic and interactive process of teaching and
learning (p272)
Background to co-creating curric
 Students as participants, researchers, change agents, cocreators, co-producers… (Bovill et al, 2011& 2009; Dunne & Zandstra, 2011;
McCulloch, 2009; Neary, 2010; SFC, 2008)
 Influence of critical pedagogy and student voice in schools
(Cook-Sather, 2007; Darder et al, 2003; Fielding, 2004; Giroux, 1983; Rogers and Freiberg,
1969)
Why would you co-create curricula?






“My course is broken”
My students are not engaged
I want to make my classroom more democratic
The benefits look worth exploring
The university is going through a structural change
There is a small amount of funding available
Student benefits
Enhanced meta-cognitive understanding of the learning
process
 collective and individual responsibility
 group cohesion
 autonomy and self-directed learning
 confidence and motivation
Enhanced student performance in assessments
Enhanced meta-cognitive understanding of the teaching
process
(See for e.g. Bovill et al 2011; Delpish et al, 2011; Mihans et al, 2008)
Staff outcomes
• Risky / nerve wracking
• Intense / demanding
• Enhanced meta-cognitive
understanding of the learning
and teaching process
• Rewarding experience from
genuine dialogue with
students and witnessing
benefits for students
• Transformatory
Ladder of student participation in
curriculum design
Students in control
Student control of
some areas of choice
Students control of
prescribed areas
Wide choice from
prescribed choices
Limited choice from
prescribed choices
Participation claimed,
tutor in control
Dictated curriculum –
no interaction
Bovill & Bulley, (2011)
Students have
some choice and
influence
Tutors control
decision-making
informed by
student feedback
Tutors control
decision-making
Students increasingly active in participation
Partnership - a
negotiated curriculum
Students control
decision-making and
have substantial
influence
Ladder of student participation in
curriculum design
Students in control
Partnership - a
negotiated curriculum
Student control of
some areas of choice
Students control of
prescribed areas
Students writing
their own essay
question
Wide choice from
prescribed choices
Limited choice from
prescribed choices
Participation claimed,
tutor in control
Dictated curriculum –
no interaction
Students control
decision-making and
have substantial
Students
designing
influence
their own learning
outcome(s)
Students have
some choice and
Designing
a VLE
influence
Tutors control
decision-making
informed by
student feedback
Gathering feedback
from students…
Tutors control
decision-making
Students increasingly active in participation
Students as full
members of
curriculum design
team
Words of caution…
Higher up the ladder is not necessarily ‘better’
Beware of chasing the ‘nirvana’ of total participation
and totally equal participation
Different points on the ladder might be
possible or desirable in different contexts
The ladder is simply a model to facilitate
discussion
Examples of student participation
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
students choosing the topic for their research project
students co-designing marking criteria with staff
students and staff collaborate to choose a course text book
students influencing the content of the curriculum
students’ work forming the basis of the curriculum
students co-creating course resources
students co-designing the assessment
Some big questions…
My first years don’t
20 years of
Wehave
are all
overstretched
this me, to
IWe
only
have
teach
aexperience
theseand like
know
what
needs to be
like
more
professional
studentssounds
for
body
twothat
weeks
inwe
the
content of the
constrains
and the course
whatwork…
is cofirst year chemistry
ordinated
can do with
byour
someone
curriculum…
else… curriculum…
Turning the ladder on its side?
•
•
•
•
Various factors might suggest an appropriate cocreation approach eg:
Class size
Teaching space
Your experience
Students’ experience
What is possible in your context?
What is particular about the context in which you
work with first year students?
Pre-design decisions (1)
Tutors act as gatekeepers of curriculum design
• Which students do you involve?
Retrospective
Current
Future
• If not all students - interview/criteria?
• Will you reward students?
Bovill (forthcoming)
Pre-design decisions (2)
• Course, programme or extra-curricular involvement?
• Designing curriculum processes or content?
Bovill (forthcoming)
Implications
•
•
•
•
•
•
Where will this take us?
Evaluation and evidence growing, but more needed
You may be doing this already - can you develop ideas
further? Can you evaluate what you are doing?
Feels risky for many staff, so start with smaller initiatives
Speak to colleagues and discuss possibilities
Talk to students
Don’t forget second year…
Let’s make the first year…
Engaging
Empowering
Memorable
Motivating
Inspiring
Energising
Confidence building
Positive

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