This presentation explores both curriculum design and students’ critique and reflective practice upon that.
“Transforming Technologies: teaching and learning in the digital age” is a new university postgraduate award (Centre for Lifelong Learning, University of Warwick) designed for anyone involved in teaching and learning who would like to use technology more effectively. The award is part of the department’s Gateway to Postgraduate study; an access route for those returning to learning who may wish to build up experience and credit towards Masters level study. So although the award has practical application, its position as a level 7 HE programme means it also contains a critical and theoretical element.
The structure of the award is thematic: students work through weekly topics (which include collaborative learning online, assistive technology, mobile learning and e-assessment) where they critically consider a range of learning technologies in relation to their own work settings, as teachers or trainers. However, the course also seeks to enable participants to reflect on their experiences as students on the course, as ‘e-learners’, and to analyse their digital presence and experience, bringing this to bear as a ‘resource’ throughout the programme.
There are several ways in which this award provides innovative opportunities to put students at the heart of programme, enabling them to both learn from and critique the curriculum itself, and become agents of change. Firstly, although the 10 week programme is mostly face-to-face provision, it also contains a three week problem-based ‘mini MOOC’, where students are required to define the issues themselves (Wheeler et al, 2005) and steer the themes collectively through a range of online tools and approaches. Secondly, each week the tutor fully shares a rationale, lesson plan and resources for each session, inviting critique and reflection from students, enabling a powerful student-tutor dialogue that ensures the curriculum evolves in a way that is desirable to the group. Finally, as part of their summative assessment, students are asked to submit a digital poster, with a view to this becoming a resource which is part of a wider repository of tools for staff at the University, promoting the notion of ‘student as producer’ and valuing students’ contributions to a wider body of knowledge, something usually reserved for postgraduate researchers or those on more substantial programmes.
This presentation will argue the importance of curriculum design in e-learning, and also explore the issues and opportunities that arise from giving students more agency in a course VLE and in curriculum design decisions. Students’ reflections and curriculum design examples will be explored in this presentation.
Wheeler, S et al (2005) The influence of online problem-based learning on teachers’ professional practice and identity, Alt-J Research in Learning Technology, Vol 13 (2)
Hattersley, S (2014) Transforming Pedagogy and Experience through E-Learning in Teacher Education (publication expected shortly). Accessible at: http://journals.heacademy.ac.uk/doi/abs/10.11120/elss.2014.00032