Curriculum matters mainly because of its potential impacts on students. The fundamental purpose of curriculum development is to ensure that students receive integrated, coherent learning experiences that contribute towards their personal, academic and professional learning and development.
The design and development of curriculum for courses, topics, and major and minor sequences of topics, should focus on how the educational experience contributes to students' development of the Flinders Graduate Qualities. These qualities provide a key reference point for the Curriculum Development process. They must be related to the conceptual frameworks, language and practices of the student's field of study through quality learning experiences.
Curriculum Development vodcast by Don Houston
Key elements and relationships in curriculum
Staff and students are at the heart of curriculum. The relationships between them are shaped by the answers to key questions about
- Educational aims (of courses, sequences and topics)
- Intended learning outcomes (for students)
- learning interactions and
- the connections between these elements.
Intended learning outcomes frame and shape the detail and alignment of assessment, learning interactions and content (Biggs, 1999).
Intended learning outcomes describe the characteristics that a student should be able show on successful completion of a course or topic. Assessment gauges the extent of students' achievement of the intended outcomes, learning interactions and content should help to build towards students' achievement of those outcomes.
Key University policy considerations that must be accommodated in curriculum development are:
- the development of Flinders University Graduate Qualities;
- the University's commitment to Work Integrated Learning (WIL);
- the University's commitment to revitalising the first year curriculum;
- the University's commitment to internationalisation of curriculum;
- the University's commitment to the incorporation of indigenous knowledge and perspectives;
- reconsideration of assessment and teaching to respond to current demands;
- the technical requirements on course structure and consistent topic unit values.
These influences provide important context for the course or topic aim statement and the long description that appears in the course information book and on the University website. The topic/course aim and description should express the essential characteristics of the intended learning experience and its purpose.
The question - what knowledge, skills and attributes as a learner should a student be able to show on successful completion of the learning experience? - frames the key design questions:
How should students' progress towards the intended learning outcomes be assessed?
What learning and teaching interactions should be provided to guide students' learning?
What content (knowledge, skills, values and applications in context) should be incorporated to contribute to the students' learning experience?