The design and implementation of a knowledge-based system for curriculum development in engineering.
This work presents a novel and pragmatic approach to Curriculum Development
by combining theoretical knowledge with expertise in the form of practical rules within
a Knowledge-Based System. As a broad generalisation, the literature on Curriculum
Development tends to focus on theoretical issues and fails to address the practical needs
of course designers in engineering, particularly in countries with developing educational
systems. The main achievements of the present research are:
" demonstration that Knowledge-Based Systems can be successfully applied to
Curriculum Development. Reports of Verification and Validation by experts and
end-users are presented.
" an innovative approach to Curriculum Development by providing course
designers in engineering with sound advice concerning their specific needs (by
combining built in expertise with their own data as input from the keyboard) in
the subdomains of Introduction to Curriculum Development, Methods of
Curriculum Content Identification, Course Structure, Learning Outcomes and
Student Assessment. This approach has led to the representation of expertise
through practical and numerical rules which has never been published.
"a framework for building Knowledge-Based System which incorporates a novel
strategy for knowledge acquisition using several experts. This was the result of
devising the concepts of Boundaries, Limits, Inputs and Outputs which ensured
that the size and integration of the knowledge base were kept under control and
prevented the conflict of expertise.
" an element for training in Curriculum Development by developing an
Explanation Network which provides the end-user with concepts and principles
relevant to the curriculum theory. This vehicle for training, which comes in
addition to the advice given in the main consultation, is also a novel feature in
the development of Knowledge-Based Systems.
Indeed the research has shown that there is scope for acquiring expertise on
Curriculum Development yet a wide variety of techniques of knowledge elicitation
were needed to acquire specific rules from the Curriculum Development experts. The
research also has demonstrated that these rules can be implemented in a portable, standalone
system. The work concludes with a reflective discussion about the major findings
of this research which underpins the recommendations about the use and dissemination
of this Knowledge-Based ystem.