Course design as a collaborative enterprise: Incorporating interdisciplinarity into a backward mapping systems approach to course design in Higher Education

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Curriculum Transformation Vol. 40

June, 2017, 455 pages
Published by
Ruth Walker & Simon Bedford
ISBN
978-0-9945546-6-6
Abstract 

The Higher Education sector in Australia is no longer protected by its national border.  Traditional universities across Australia are experiencing competition unlike anything that has occurred in the past (Universities Australia 2013; Norton 2013; Ernst & Young 2012; Maringe and Sing 2014; Stromquist and Monkman 2014).   In this climate, the need to be distinctive and able to offer something more to the student is part of a counter response to greater competition (Seimens 2004). Charles Sturt University has approached this challenge by recognising the need for quality improvements in learning and teaching. CSU has introduced a university-wide, collaborative course design process to address this.  Through a process of backward mapping, learning outcomes, learning experiences and authentic assessment tasks are aligned with a set of graduate attributes comprising both industry and professional standards. The value of this interdisciplinary collaboration is important to highlight, as it facilitates a creative and innovative approach to curriculum design. Academic and professional staff external to a course team/School/Faculty, offer new perspectives which academics within a specific discipline may not conceive when working in relative isolation. Using this model of working, course review becomes a process which facilitates ‘boundary spanning’. This paper presents a case study – a Bachelor of Physiotherapy - which illustrates the application of this backward mapping approach to curriculum design.  This approach of interdisciplinary collaboration and iterative feedback enabled a philosophical shift away from the historical medical model to a holistic social model of health provision.

Keywords: collaboration, critical feedback, constructive alignment.

Course design as a collaborative enterprise: Incorporating interdisciplinarity into a backward mapping systems approach to course design in Higher Education

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Thomson, E.A., Auhl, G., Hicks, K., McPherson, K. Robinson, C. & Wood, D.