Students as bridges: Translating the student voice for effective curriculum evaluation

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

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

This paper shares the experience of a student led curriculum research project in a regional university. Overall, higher education (HE) curriculum development, design and evaluation are exclusively an academic exercise. Very often curriculum and discipline experts create sequences of learning for students without any real engagement or consultation with the student body who will undertake the program or courses. Any recognition to a student voice in curriculum (re)design is often limited to formal and informal course evaluations, which have become problematic due to systemic issues of low response rates and potential for extreme feedback. This student led curriculum project suggests a different model for student feedback (student-lecturer as partners) and one that can leverage a new dialogue space (student to student) to foster more accurate and authentic feedback. The setting for this project is exploring the use of new visualisation technologies at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC).  In these enhanced learning spaces, USC is developing in-house knowledge about how to effectively use simulation, immersive and collaboration-based learning activities.  The ‘Student as Bridge’ model used for this research leverages a ‘plugged in’ peer-to-peer interaction and ‘student as researcher’ observation in classes using this new technology. This paper proposes that a ‘student as bridge’ model increases the authenticity of feedback and is a strategic shift away from viewing students as passive consumers of curriculum towards a view of students as stakeholders and partners.

Keywords: student voice, student as partners, curriculum evaluation,  engineering

Students as bridges: Translating the student voice for effective curriculum evaluation

pdf (334.4 KB)
Walker, R. & Ashford, T.