In praise of difference: Analysing work/academic negotiations in designing university curricula

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Enhancing Higher Education, Theory and Scholarship Vol. 30

July, 2007, 651 pages
Published by
Geoffrey Crisp & Margaret Hicks
ISBN
0 908557 72 8
Abstract 

This paper reports on attempts to develop vocational curricula within higher education institutions which reflect professional needs. The paper focuses on an empirical investigation of knowledge movement as academics discuss curricular issues with work representatives. The meetings were taped and transcribed then coded according to boundary crossing moves by the participants as they put forward proposals. A tentative model for a mutually satisfactory recontextualisation of work knowledge involving initial difference, boundary crossing and knowledge hybridisation based on an analysis of the coded transcripts is put forward and expanded upon.

In being recontextualised academic knowledge becomes something different from its origins. As the professions change new outside knowledge needs to be moved into the academic curriculum often at the level of face-to-face interactions between representatives from work and from the academy. At this grounded level representatives draw on a number of resources and behaviours to operationalise recontextualisation. Social constructivist theories such as actor-network, activity and situated learning theory can now be mobilised to describe and explain the grounded inter-personal/inter-group activities which lead to recontextualisation.

Key words: Responsiveness; boundary crossing; degree of difference

In praise of difference: Analysing work/academic negotiations in designing university curricula

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Garraway, J.