Exploring Curriculum Processes 1

Curriculum Design in touches every aspect of an institution’s core business from aligning its portfolio of courses to its mission and vision, through market research and product development to quality assurance, recruitment, assessment, timetabling and how it distributes its funding internally.  Early in the programme we ran a workshop to explore our shared understanding of those processes in order to be able to discuss them effectively and represent them to other people.  Unsurprisingly it wasn’t easy to decide what processes were involved and how to describe them.

This list was our first attempt:

Strategic Planning
Employer Engagement

Learning Design
Summative Assessment

Course Approval
Quality Assurance

Room Allocation/Timetabling
Student Fees
Course Delivery
Summative Assessment

Benchmarking/Performance Indicators

Student Feedback
Strategic Planning/Portfolio Analysis

We tried turning this into a flowchart but the linear representation was unsatisfactory even though there is a clear temporal sequence to some of the activities. some of the processes were indeed deemed a ‘tedious distraction’ to the real business in hand and led to a heated debate about the extent to which assessment is a necessary component of all courses.

The group was more comfortable drafting the processses as a series of concentric circles (below).  The central core is the ‘engine’ but the other processes are necessary to make it function.  There was an interesting discussion around the notion that there is a ‘silent majority’ involved in the central core whereas in the outer circle the activities involve far fewer people who wield far greater individual power.In terms of how this applied to the scope of these projects it was noted that, as with Modern Art, the secret is in where you place the frame.

That wasn’t the end of it of course.  These initial doodles marked the start of a journey and we are still on the road to finding effective models to describe these processes.

Process 1

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