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Title: Curriculum development in higher education : investigating practice and discourse
Author: O'Riordan, Fiona
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 665X
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2015
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Curricula in higher education is under increasing pressure to contribute to economic and societal enhancement. The National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 view higher education as not only central to economic and social advancement but also as having a fundamental role in developing learners that have a broad sense of world agency and responsibility. These challenges and obligations are delivered through appropriately designed curricula. Educators are the primary source of curricula development and thus most centrally placed to help deliver on these significant requirements for higher education. Given their central role, the aim of this research was to elucidate the voice of educators with regard to their experience of curriculum development practice and discourse in the context of higher education. The key objectives in realising this aim were to engage educators in curriculum development discourse; illuminate educators' philosophical beliefs and their influence on curriculum development; build capacity among educators in relation to their role in curriculum development; and to irradiate current curriculum development practices. The study was conducted across four higher education institutions in Ireland. Discourse analysis was used as a methodology within a post-structural theoretical framework which facilitated layered analysis and questioning of curriculum development practice and discourse. The discourses used in the analysis included transcripts from in-depth interviews and focus groups with educators involved in curricula development during 2012-14, institutional strategy documents, and validation panel reports. An advisory group was used to offer depth and validity to the analysis and interpretation and as a capacity building tool. The findings were enlightening. In some cases they echoed concerns revealed in the literature; in addition some unexpected narratives were also uncovered. In any event. the findings contribute to the current curriculum development conversation by offering a framework for curriculum development practice and discourse. I argue if this framework is used as an early discourse and planning tool tt can offer transformative potential for curricula. It does so by facilitating the development team scope out the project through questioning and challenging existing curriculum development practices across three key areas - policy for curriculum development at institutional level; practice at development level; and discourse guiding practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available