Curriculum on the map! 10 years of curriculum initiatives in higher education in Australia.

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

June, 2017, 455 pages
Published by
Ruth Walker & Simon Bedford

‘Curriculum in higher education in Australia – Hello?’ was the title of a paper presented 10 years ago at the 30th HERDSA annual conference. The paper argued that ‘curriculum’ was a term given very limited currency in higher education in Australia, with the focus either restricted to ‘content’ of courses, or as a vehicle for attending to critical issues such as ‘internationalising the curriculum’. It proposed curriculum as having the potential to bring together discipline interests, learning and teaching improvements, the effective use of communication and information technologies for learning, and key issues such as inclusivity, internationalisation, and the development of new programs of study.

Some may lament the continuing minimal attention given to curriculum as a broad unifying concept. However, much has occurred with respect to higher education curriculum in Australia over the past decade, while lack of clarity in the meaning of the term ‘curriculum’ remains. This paper provides an overview of that 10 year history.

Significant drivers of change in Australian universities’ attention to curriculum are highlighted, including the role of a range of government initiatives and bodies such as the ALTC and TEQSA. A textual analysis of university/government ‘compacts’ and a review of accessible web-pages from all Australian universities, are used to illustrate the extent and nature of usage of the term ‘curriculum’ and to map curriculum-related activities across the sector.

The paper concludes with a range of options to promote a place for ‘curriculum in higher education’ as a unifying concept with potential to improve the quality of what can be offered to students in the future.

Keywords: curriculum, drivers, universities, Australia 2007-2017

Curriculum on the map! 10 years of curriculum initiatives in higher education in Australia.

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Hicks, O.