Course 2, Week 2: Curriculum Design

As mentioned in my previous post, this course of the programme began to feel somewhat repetitive. The learning models of week 2 were of greatest interest, being able to read more around methods to course design and reflect on the teams practice so far. 

Where to begin course design

Constructive alignment is the first consideration raised for course design, and this makes sense when accounting for previous learning on the PGCert. When reflecting on team works and discussion so far, I believe constructive alignment has played an important role:

A video offered on staff’s perspective on where to start includes important considerations such as:

  • What other universities offer and if there is a niche
  • Whether the expertise is available within the team/faculty
  • Current trends and big topics, which become an essential material for learning
  • Developments in the industry and future-planning
  • Skillsets required for careers linked to the subject
  • Assessment types which are in line with outcomes

From this 2 week course, the most important learning experience was surrounding the models for course design, (including this article) which I will detail below.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) model

The video explaining this model was a great introduction and worth having on hold as a reminder. The online learning platform summarises there are three educational design principles to the UDL model:

  1. Provide multiple means of engagement: ‘ learners differ markedly in the ways in which they can be engaged or motivated to learn […] there is not one means of engagement that will be optimal for all learners in all contexts; providing multiple options for engagement is essential’
  2. Provide multiple means of representation: ‘ Learners differ in the ways that they perceive and comprehend information that is presented to them. […] there is not one means of representation that will be optimal for all learners; providing options for representation is essential.’
  3. Provide multiple means of action and expression: ‘Learners differ in the ways that they can navigate a learning environment and express what they know. […] there is not one means of action and expression that will be optimal for all learners; providing options for action and expression is essential.’

Backward Design

The backward design model makes a great deal of sense when considering that assessments are the method used to measure the success of course objectives.
Wiggins and McTighe (2005, 2010) offer three stages to their backward method of design, which has been presented as an image based upon Kurt’s (2016) outline:

Integrated Course Design

This model developed by Fink (2013) is based around constructive alignment, with a focus on the learning process instead of only the outcomes, as seen in the Backward Design Model.

As you will notice, situatioanl factors play a role in this model. Fink suggests the following steps:

  1. Identify important situation factors, which help size the (this included the nature of the subject, how many students ina class, characteristics of learners, etc. A helpful reference sheet on factors provided by Coventry University Online can be located here.
  2. Use situational factors to make decisions on the components of constructive alignment
  3. Ensure all components are integrated – another great resource from Coventry University online here.

Reflection on learning this week

I enjoyed this week and the introduction of models. This really allowed me to reflect on the group project so far and see which model methods my team and I have naturally gravitated to. I believe, due to the wide-ranging experience of my team and our dedication as academic leaders, we have used methods from each of the models presented. Of the models, I feel the methods used by my team fall within the ‘Integrated Course Design’ model, however, we have also demonstrated aspects of the ‘Universal Design for Learning’. 

From this course, I am now feeling more determined on beginning to tackle the two templates for the group project. Currently, our templates are set to track changes on a shared OneDrive folder. I have labelled each section to complete with names of pairs, as discussed in our group meeting, Wednesday 15th May. Now I hope to find a method to work collaboratively on developing our ideas to form a complete and structure course design.

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