DoLT Forum 23 March Curriculum enhancement project.
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DoLT Forum 23 March Curriculum enhancement project
Agenda Project update Options for change to the structure of the academic year Models for broadening the curriculum Your views on: - some key broadening questions - the proposed academic year structure
Project update: Principles Within all UG programmes: Integration of research with learning and teaching Core threads will be incorporated and demonstrated in the context of the discipline Deeper learning and less ‘pocketed knowledge’ Opportunity to broaden within or beyond the discipline Opportunity for placement learning/study abroad
Project update: What’s been agreed Employability, ethics and responsibility and global and cultural insight - the core threads within Leeds curriculum Threads to be demonstrated in all programmes from 2012 onwards Electives to be structured within coherent strands New structure for electives to be in place for 2012
Project update: Under development A commonly agreed definition of Research and L&T integration Definitions for each of the threads and exemplars Broadening: Characteristics/criteria of an elective strand Principles and drivers which will inform structure of the academic year Model for new academic year structure
Structure of the academic year Simon Biggs: Pro Dean L&T Engineering
The Academic Year Main issues highlighted: Second Semester is less than ideal Need for 2 formal examination periods? Need to reassert primacy of programmes over modules Need for more imaginative and well thought out assessment maps
The Academic Year Principles & drivers A fundamental principle is that any change, or changes, made to the academic calendar must improve the student experience at Leeds. Similarly, any change or changes made to the academic calendar must not impact in a negative way on the staff experience; balancing the imperative of protecting research time with the impact of increased fees on students’ expectations. The needs of the curriculum should drive the support process. The requirements of the different disciplines must be accommodated; prescription or restriction should only be introduced in order to fulfil: equality and equity of the student experience across all programmes essential practical considerations; the feasibility of running such a complex set of curricula across a range of subject areas in a large institution. We must be clear of the attributes of the graduates that we wish to produce and then provide a flexible space that will suit the teaching, learning and assessment needs of all of our programmes. Given the change in fee structures after 2012 the impact on perceptions of students, and other external stakeholders including parents, of the length of the teaching / contact periods must be taken into account.
The Academic Year Teaching in a compressed and intensive way excludes opportunities for students to assimilate concepts and knowledge and for them to develop intellectually, technically and reflectively to their full potential. The current academic year structure, with two periods of University-organised assessment, militates against the possibility of synoptic learning and assessment; synoptic assessment would require students to synthesise their learning across modules as well as within modules. The heart of course design should be at programme rather than module level. An unhealthy focus on the module can result in fragmented student learning and ‘pocketed’ knowledge; achievement of programme level outcomes should be the arbiter of success. The integration of research with teaching is a given for study at Leeds. Students need to be prepared for any significant, summative piece of assessment; development of skills and attributes through the course should focus on this end. The review of the curriculum gives an opportunity to address aspects of our variable NSS, and other programme evaluation, particularly the scores for assessment and feedback. The moveable Easter holiday causes problems with the current model; it disrupts the continuity of the teaching & learning period in the spring & summer terms. The length of holiday periods at Christmas and Easter can be adjusted to suit the needs of the curriculum. Whatever is decided, programme teams should be having a conversation about their curricula; the more open and flexible the academic calendar, the more creative and ambitious these discussions can be.
Broadening Martin Purvis: Pro Dean L&T Environment
Broadening – Aims and Rationale To allow students to adapt/apply knowledge from main discipline in different ways/contexts To give students the opportunity to undertake subjects, develop skills and explore topics beyond main discipline To meet employer demand for individuals with broad academic horizons and the confidence/ flexibility to question received wisdom – not just specialist knowledge of a single subject area (Graduate Talent Conference 2010)
Broadening at Leeds – Flexible Opportunity Enhance/render explicit broadening elements within primary disciplinary content Facilitate/enhance co-curricular broadening opportunities, external/research placements etc. Coordinate/enhance broadening electives as component of most programmes
Broadening: Elective Strands Reformat electives as coherent strands of related modules – both as organisational device and to clarify rationale for broadening Ensure strands offer students the opportunity to pursue an interest across more than one level of study Ensure more equal opportunities for students to pursue broadening strands within their degree programme Broadening beyond main discipline at the student’s discretion Timing of broadening opportunities within specific programmes may reflect particular disciplinary/ professional contexts
An Elective Strand is: A co-ordinated and structured series of related elective modules allowing sustained exploration of a specific subject, issue or skill which lies beyond the primary disciplinary content of a student’s programme.
Elective Strands should: Have a clear focus, but include range of alternative modules – allowing choice for students and some flexibility in timetabling around study for home degree Offer modules over at least 2 levels (and ideally 3 levels) to allow for progression Be constructed to ensure that a student who exits after study at only one level also has satisfactory and stimulating experience Be sufficiently flexible to accommodate unorthodox progression paths – e.g. a student who starts strand at L1, exits for a year and then re- enters
Types/functions of Elective Strands A structured exploration of key aspects of an academic subject beyond the home degree discipline A suite of modules which develop additional skills and competences – with academic and/or vocational relevance A suite of modules which enhance understanding of external commercial/institutional environments and/or enterprise A co-ordinated exploration of an important issue or debate from a complementary range of different disciplinary perspectives
Possible inter-disciplinary strands Knowledge, communication and technology Sustainability or apocalypse? Languages, translation and global scholarship Public engagement and understanding The future of the university Work placement and professional awareness
Steps towards a Broader Curriculum Step 1: Provide clearer information about rationale for/benefits from ‘broadening’ to students and Schools/Faculties. Step 2: Develop defined structure of Broadening Strands, as a series of related elective modules, to add significant value to current elective system. Step 3: Work with Schools/Faculties to ensure ‘broadening’ traits evident in core disciplinary programmes. Step 4: Explore scope for innovative forms of timetabling and/or module delivery so that choice in theory translates into choice in practice.
Your Input Consultation document will ask you to … a) review existing elective provision in the light of strand model – may entail more selectivity about which modules offered as electives b) consider scope for innovative strands – taught within School/Faculty or through new inter- disciplinary partnerships c) consider strands that you and your students would like to see developed to generate new broadening opportunities
Academic Year What do you think about the principles and drivers that should inform any change to the structure of the academic year? What are your views on getting rid of the formal examination period at the end of semester 1? What do you think about the suggestions for incorporating revision time or work placement/experience opportunities within option 3?
Key broadening questions How can we best encourage/co-ordinate the development of an imaginative range of broadening strands? Should be wary of offering too many strands/too much choice? And how much is too much? Can we accommodate student choice to migrate between strands – plus opting out (and back in)? Can all programmes accommodate ‘flexible opportunity’? Does it matter where, and at what level(s), broadening opportunities are located within specific programmes?