Presentation on theme: "Curriculum Commission Steering Group 20 March 2008 A geoscientists perspective on curriculum reform David Macdonald Head of School of Geosciences."— Presentation transcript:
Curriculum Commission Steering Group 20 March 2008 A geoscientists perspective on curriculum reform David Macdonald Head of School of Geosciences
Personal profile Speaking in a personal capacity Non-traditional academic (industry, government survey, consultancy and academia) Saw the tail end of the Keele Experiment Field scientist – The truth is out there Taught at Cambridge As HoS, concerned with the nuts and bolts
The glory of youth Have witnessed the change from an era of trusting young people to a culture of control
Conclusions? Challenge is important Trust is important Independence is important The real world is important Mission is important
How do we encapsulate this in curriculum reform? High expectations from the start
How do we raise expectations? Improve L1 induction: stress that they are not children any more Stop admitting 17 year olds? Introduce them to a new kind of learning and a new kind of society: residential courses (including field courses) New teaching methodology: Socratic dialogue replacing lectures (PRS and Harvard questions) Early assessment and re-introduction of class certificates, with the possibility of exemption
What are the blockers? The advising system: encourages a dependency culture and puts academics in a clerical role Advising is a job with no end Over-teaching: stick strictly to SFC guidelines and cap all face to face contact at 3 hours/credit. Have much more and much better SDL Over-assessing: fewer, better in-course assessments, testing synthetic skills Fewer assessments leads to more Firsts!
What do students need to know? Philosophy: Plato and Popper History of science (particularly of the great controversies) The history and values of the Enlightenment (including the role of geoscientists!) How to think, how to synthesise and how to communicate How to link science to society (and vice versa)
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