A cybernetic analysis of a university-wide curriculum innovation

Millwood, Richard and Powell, Stephen (2011) A cybernetic analysis of a university-wide curriculum innovation. Campus-Wide Information Systems, 28 (4). p. 258. ISSN ISSN:1065-0741

[img] Microsoft Word .docx
IDIBLpaper1-Acyberneticanalysisofauniversity-widecurriculuminnovation SPowell RMillwood.docx

Download (224kB)


\textbfPurpose This paper describes and analyses an approach to course design as part of a strategic, technology-inspired, cross-university intervention to widen participation. A curriculum framework was developed for students who wished to make their work the focus of their study and could not readily access current university provision. A deliberate assumption was made that this would require a technologically inspired response to teaching, learning and assessment. \textbfDesign/methodology/approach The approach taken was one of action research, by planning the curriculum framework, validating a course, delivery and review through interviews. Cybernetics was applied post-hoc to analyse the data generated. \textbfFindings Staff found the framework a useful source of inspiration and critique for current practices, although established practice and preconceptions could render the framework meaningless. The ideas in the framework are not enough to change the institution - authoritative sanction may be needed. The cybernetic concepts of variety and its absorption proved useful in analysing the framework, and highlighted weaknesses in the design of the framework regarding the organisation of teaching. \textbfResearch limitations/implications Clarity about strategic purpose when making a change intervention is vital - in this instance raising the level of critical debate was more successful than recruitment. The establishment of an independent unit may be a more successful strategy than embedding university-wide. Further work is required to understand how to market novel approaches. The action research shows that the University has the capability to develop curriculum designs that offer new groups of students? access to higher education while improving their work practice. \textbfOriginality/value The findings from interview confirm the value that peers attach to this development. Although the pedagogical design in this action research is based on previous work, the cybernetic analysis and conclusions are new.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an electronic version of the article whose definitive version is published in Campus-Wide Information Systems,Copyright � Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cybernetics; Curriculum design; Curriculum framework; Work-focused learning; Work-based learning; Online distance learning; Universities
Divisions: University of Bolton Research Centres > Institute for Educational Cybernetics
Depositing User: Scott Wilson
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2013 12:52
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2016 11:06
Identification Number: 10.1108/10650741111162734
URI: http://ubir.bolton.ac.uk/id/eprint/443

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics