Are we there yet: Making curriculum visible to students

Are we doing enough to increase visibility of graduate capabilities, program learning outcomes and curriculum intent to students? Why students are not provided the whole of curriculum details at the point of enrolment?

Current students are able to access course information online, but the information frequently lacks relevant detail and is presented such that there is minimal student perception of relevance. Students rarely see a course-wide view of their studies, and yet their courses are developed with just such a holistic view.  And yet, clearly defined course learning outcomes and graduate attributes are essential for producing graduates with the skills necessary to be proficient employees and contributors to society.

In her 2016 National Teaching Fellowship, Associate Professor Lisa Tee identifies the need to communicate transparent and “visible” curricula to students to enhance first year transition, retention and successful course completion. She aims to generate a national conversation around how to better communicate and engage students in their program of study through the implementation and support of MyCourseMap, a multi-dimensional interactive curriculum map using digital and touch technology that increases transparency and relevance of curricula for students.

In a single view MyCourseMap provides staff and students a visual picture of the horizontal and vertical integration across the curriculum, allows users to identify the desired graduate capabilities with links to the degree content, provides a tool which can also be used for curriculum review and renewal by embedding horizontal and vertical integration within a program of study and embeds peer, graduate and employer stories (through text, audio and video) to demonstrate the relevance of the course/program structure and content.

To further generate a national conversation about the need to provide more student centred ways to present “visible” curricula Lisa will be conducting workshops in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth this year. The workshops aim to stimulate discourse arounds student’s accessibility to entire curriculum and program learning outcomes and encourage academics to reflect on the way curricula are presented to students in their institution and on the ways to enhance first year transition and identity. The workshop also provides attendees an opportunity to pilot MyCourseMap with their course of study. Workshops in Brisbane will be held on 12 and 13 April at QUT and on 19 April at RMIT in Melbourne.

For further details of upcoming workshops or if you like to attend please email L.Tee@curtin.edu.au.