Students as co-producers of the curriculum; a viable option?

Ryan, Barry (2013) Students as co-producers of the curriculum; a viable option? In: 6th Annual Learning Innovation Network Conference – Sustainable Models of Student Engagement – Rhetoric or Achievable? 17th October 2013 in the Ashling Hotel, Dublin., Dublin, Ireland.


Incorporating students in curriculum design and reform actively promotes and integrates the “student as producer” philosophy in a tangible way for both students and staff (Neary and Winn, 2009). This paper will describe the implementation of such an approach, on a pilot scale, based on two first year science laboratory modules. The case study will describe how final year students were tasked as “change agents” of the curriculum to enhance peer learning and peer assisted learning. Multimedia technology incorporation formed one aspect of this student driven curriculum change as the final year student created several reusable learning objects (RLO) to promote pre-laboratory preparation for first year students. The subjects of the RLO were the threshold concepts identified by student questionnaire and lecture experience (Cousin, 2006). The second student converted a traditional laboratory into a problem based learning laboratory to promote a more student centred discovery learning experience for the first year students. It was noted that to effectively re-design a section of the curriculum the final year student must analyse and synthesise several multimodal sources on the subject content. The student must then brainstorm, storyboard, create, implement and evaluate the change(s). Many steps in this process are repeated several times and each time the student refines not only their design, but also their understanding of the content. This ultimately leads to increased student engagement with their design and deeper learning of the subject matter. The final year students, under the guidance of the supervising lecturer, evaluated the effect of these curriculum changes through quantitative and qualitative methods. The paper will describe the process of improving peer-interaction, incorporating students as ‘change agents’ of the curriculum and also, analyse the data generated though the student-generated evaluation. Finally, the paper will conclude with study limitations and some recommendations for further implementations of this concept.

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