My Story: Student Engagement in Curriculum Design
For the last year, I Natasha am the Research Assistant on the PREDICT (Promoting Realistic Engaging Discussions in Curriculum Teams) project working at the Learning Development Centre, in City University London. The main purpose of the project is to look at Curriculum Design at City and four other British Universities, including Birmingham, Cardiff, Cambridge and Greenwich universities. This project is funded by JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) and aims to develop a new curriculum design process within City that is efficient, flexible and focuses on enhancing educational development and the student experience. In order to carry this out, it is vital to engage all academics and students in the process.
As part of my research, I have used a qualitative approach, which allowed me to collect broadly defined data to get the best possible feel of the situation and behaviour of student programme representatives. This consisted of an exploratory survey in order to collect answers to the same set of questions from individual students to gage their opinions and views as well as develop a wider picture on the theme of curriculum design. This approach has informed us as to whether students feel involved and engaged with the planning, development and design of their curriculum. If they already do, it is important to assess whether they would like further or less involvement/ engagement in this process.
In November 2011 the first STARS conference for Student Programme Representatives took place, I distributed 80 questionnaires on student engagement in curriculum design with an attached slip for their contact details should they wish to take part in future research, I received twenty one completed questionnaires as well as nineteen contact details slips.
During the year of the project I have conducted interviews with academics who are involved in some way in the design of their programmes or modules. Three of these academics are taking part in the MAAP (MA in Academic Practice) and are being interviewed pre and post module, to gage whether they have more of an understanding of curriculum design and will now consider other issues regarding the process. In addition, they will be asked whether more student involvement in the design of their curriculum should be encouraged.
All this data will also inform publications of papers and journals, workshops and conference presentations, as well as future models of good practice that can be shared and used across programmes in City University London and disseminated within the wider higher education community.