Curriculum development for non traditional university students

Buckley, Fiona, Harris, Clodagh, O’Mullane, Monica and Reidy, Theresa (2008) Curriculum development for non traditional university students. [Conference Proceedings]


This paper is the briefing document that informs part of a NAIRTL funded project’s consultation exercise. The Integrating Research, Teaching and Learning in a Multicultural Setting: Developing a FETAC level 6 Certificate in political issues and community action for the immigrant community project will design and develop the curriculum for a UCC accredited Certificate (FETAC level 6) to be offered to the immigrant community from the greater Munster area. This paper will draw on national and international examples of good practise in curriculum design for non-traditional university students. It is also envisaged that it will act as a discussion document for consultations with the relevant community groups, state agencies and curriculum specialists whose active engagement and input forms a key part of the project.This paper proposes to investigate the use of two teaching strategies - service learning and enquiry or problem based learning (PBL) as part of the curriculum development process. A key aspect of the proposed curriculum will be voter education. Students of UCC’s MBS Government and MA Politics will train immigrant students in this area, thus, providing them (the MBS/MA class) with the opportunity to gather relevant experience in the fields of citizenship training and community empowerment. PBL which has its origins in the work of Sweller and Cooper (1985 and 1987) on cognitive load theory will drive a research led curriculum which will develop the research skills of the students. As the curriculum is being designed, it will be piloted in an existing non-FETAC accredited certificate class – the Certificates in Political Issues and Community Action.

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