How can I keep the curriculum relevant at a time of rapid change?
Institutions are under greater pressure than ever to provide courses that appeal to a broad mix of students and equip them for future employment. Keeping the curriculum responsive to changing demands is essential to any institution’s strategy.
Planning and designing the curriculum involves every aspect of an institution’s business from market research and course development to quality assurance and enhancement, resource allocation, timetabling, recruitment and assessment.
Our advice and guidance can help you use technology during all these stages of the curriculum lifecycle, saving you time and money.
- Our research has identified common issues and inefficiencies in curriculum design and highlighted areas where information technology can help, for example by generating new course ideas and tailoring courses to employer and learner needs.
- A range of existing and emerging resources around curriculum design and delivery are available at The Design Studio. Drawing on the experiences of projects we’re funding, this free online resource covers a range of issues including: market research; quality assurance and enhancement; employability and responsiveness; assessment and feedback; and course information. For example:
- You can use Learning design tools to visualise and explore educational concepts, allowing you to communicate aspects of the curriculum to practitioners, students and employers in terms that are meaningful to them.
- Institutional stories from 12 Curriculum Design projects describe their experience and findings of innovating curriculum practices and processes.
- Our guide to Transforming curriculum delivery through technology describes how 16 different organisations used technology to address a range of different challenges including increasing student motivation, improving feedback and assessment and facilitating learning during field trips.
Listen to episode 11 of our On Air Radio Show to hear how clear and consistent course data can help students compare courses and make informed choices. It can also help you make better business decisions about how courses are run. Episodes 5 and 8 discuss how to design an online curriculum and transform curriculum design and delivery.
- Our Process Improvement infoKit provides a step-by-step guide to help you review existing curriculum design processes.
- Our Sustaining and Embedding Innovations guide can help your organisation make curriculum development initiatives successful.
- Our Emerging Practice in a Digital Age guide explores how the use of technologies can enhance learning in a climate of economic pressure, changing social circumstances and rapid technological change. A series of videos and podcasts expands on the issues.
What does the future hold?
The Design Studio will be updated with further tools and resources from relevant JISC work. We’ll also launch a resource pack and infoKit on curriculum management this Autumn that will incorporate findings and resources from our Course Data programme
Support from JISC Services
During 2008-12 JISC has funded 27 projects examining different aspect of curriculum design. These have helped universities and colleges:
- use staff time more efficiently. The making the diploma a success project at Lewisham College saved approximately 600 hours of registry staff time and prevented almost 8,000 printouts over the course of the year by providing students with easy access to electronic timetables.
- enhance recruitment and retention. Following the implementation of the Cascade project at the University of Oxford the total number of online enrolments transactions increased by 142% from 1,171 in Quarter 1 2007‐08 to 2,834 in Quarter 1 2010‐11. The growth in financial value was even greater with a 290% increase over the same period.
- improve learner satisfaction. Prior to the eBiolabs project at the University of Bristol 8% of biochemistry undergraduates described laboratory sessions as stimulating, now the number is 25%, despite the experiments themselves remaining essentially unchanged. In addition fewer students describe the practicals as repetitive, boring or frustrating (14% vs 24%, 10% vs 17% and15% vs 22% respectively).
- innovate in learning and teaching. The MoRSE project was run jointly by De Montfort and Kingston universities to help their students use social media and mobile technology during fieldwork "I think I might have to say that this has been my favorite day so far. Its the first time during my whole degree that I’ve gone from collecting data myself to displaying it in as finalized product I created. Basically the first time I’ve taken the whole GIS process from start to finish all myself." (MoRSE student)
- influence institutional systems. Uptake of the Dynamic Learning Maps project at Newcastle University has continued beyond the period of JISC funding. The two original discipline areas; Medicine (1,800 students and 1,750 staff) and Speech and Language Sciences (170 students and 40 staff), have embedded dynamic learning maps into their respective VLEs. In addition two new subjects (geography and dentistry) are exploring use of dynamic learning maps, a funding proposal has been submitted for the university’s innovation fund, and there is interest in the project from senior managers in the institution.