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Emerging themes: Curriculum design and delivery

Page history last edited by Anna Gruszczynska 12 years, 11 months ago

Below you will find excerpts from conversations during project meetings and responses to reflexive tasks which touch upon issues related to curriculum design and delivery in the context of OERs.


Excerpt from Craig's response to reflexive task 1 ("Introducing OERs")

I think that OER’s are a rich source of new material, which can be used to cross disciplinary boundaries, and so enable a fruitful cross-fertilisation of new ideas and material. They also contain the potential to nurture student-centred interaction and the exchange of ideas surrounding assessment; with this in mind, students can be empowered to take a more active role in the conception and development of the curriculum. The ‘anti-corporate’ ethos of some areas of the materials and modes available (as part of the development of OER) will certainly appeal to many colleagues who feel stifled by the increasingly constricting tendencies of centralised bureaucracy. 
As far as the specific production of curriculum specific materials, I would be interested in developing materials that could be utilised within the OER framework – incorporating materials such as visual and sound recordings (iTunesU), and so, encourage students and colleagues to also incorporate and maybe begin to develop their own OER materials.


Excerpt from discussions at the technical development workshop on 6 May 2011

We discussed the process of implementing changes to the curriculum. John described the process of creating a new module at Huddersfield which started with a very general brief to create "something international". While planning the course, he kept asking himself the following questions: what should somebody at the end of level 4 know about local/global politics? What level are they at now? What do they expect from the course? What would academic colleagues expect a first year student to study? The course covered some rather basic issues - what is a war, how many wars are there, what is the UN, what are the other international organisations, what is globalisation etc. In the second term, there were more case studies looking at China; Iraq war; there was also a week that was left blank in the curriculum and students voted on what they wanted to see covered. The course met for two hours every fortnight and in between students participated in an online activity. In the process of developing the course, John was influenced by the OU course planning process and doing the grids etc.


Phil’s experiences of curriculum development at his institution are quite different as at Blackburn this is a very top-down process. The initiative to develop new courses will usually stem from managers who identify potential areas of growth, such as for instance security management. The process of writing new courses is all about the procedural elements - get the keywords in, assess, apply, put together the book list, there is very little creativity involved and then people within the college have to teach what Phil has written. Phil had only one opportunity within 15 years to develop his own course which looked at forensics (part of college’s effort to cash in on student fascination with CSI…).


Those differences in academic practice will have an impact on how people are approaching OERs and on their readiness to work with open content. Issues of tacit practice are contextually bound by the institutions and relate to the following aspects of practice: what we teach, how we teach it and how we organise/manage it.


Excerpt from Phil and Mike's responses to reflexive task 4 ("Peer review")

Mike has looked at Jorum and the other main repositories and identified a lack of criminological material particularly that of an introductory nature, so has decided to repurpose a module Crime, Justice and Society worth 40 credits. When I did the Exploring OERs task for this project I also found resources for ‘criminology’ to be scarce and we both expressed surprise at this non-finding considering the extent of the discipline’s presence in the undergraduate curriculum.




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