Curriculum Development Reflections

Purpose of Curriculum Documents

I consider curricula to be a set of guidelines to assist an instructor deliver a course, a student successfully complete a course, and an administrator manage resources for a course. These documents are created to make it clear what is expected from educational programs and courses. The curriculum is my ‘instruction manual’ for delivering the best learning experiences for my students. To learn more about the purpose of curriculum documents, I read what my PIDP 3210 classmates posted online and responded to their posts. An insight I now have as a result of these discussions, is that curriculum documents serve many purposes, such as teaching and learning, resource management, and marketing for a course. When developing curriculum documents at work, I will make sure I consider all groups of people who may be reading them, instead of just focussing on one target group.

Influences in Curriculum Development

I believe students can learn and remember knowledge and skills from a course when participation and relevance is provided. This stem caught my attention because an instructor’s philosophy with regard to teaching and learning can affect how curriculum documents are created. I learned more about this influence when reflecting on my curriculum documents. My lesson plans and course activities encourage group work and discussion. My course goals provide relevance to the workplace. This insight is significant for me because I now see that a course outline can contain underlying messages about an instructor’s teaching and learning beliefs. When developing curriculum documents collaboratively, I will try to have my teaching and learning philosophies embedded in documents, but I need to be aware of other instructor’s beliefs and alignments with department-wide or faculty-wide philosophies.

Creating a Positive Learning Environment

A positive learning environment occurs when both students and instructors maintain a classroom atmosphere that promotes and encourages learning. I chose this stem because I used to struggle with establishing this environment. I would take responsibility of creating it without giving students any of the responsibility, which made students hesitant to participate in class. I began understanding the joint effort between students and instructors in promoting positive learning when I began releasing more of my control to the students. Making students aware that they were responsible for their own learning and including more group work in class helped establish the environment I was striving for. I have found that the best place to ensure a positive learning environment is in lesson plan development. I will continue to implement and apply my principles regarding positive learning environment through my curriculum documents.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Competency Based Education

Advantages of the competency-based education approach are realistic criteria, work force preparation, and improved quality of skills. Some disadvantages are criteria expressed in terms of standard workplace settings, predictability, and lack of variety. I found these advantages and disadvantages interesting because they summarize the goals and problems associated with my teaching. The disadvantage of lack of variety was particularly interesting to me. Teaching a course where students use computer software can be repetitive sometimes. There is a constant cycle of demonstration, practice, and post-assessment. One method of providing variety, which was also considered when developing my course goals, is to provide interesting and relevant scenarios for the exercises students complete in class. By determining the career background of my students each semester, I could cater my exercises towards these groups, while still keeping exercises relevant for the entire class.

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About simoncrothers

I am an Australian who moved to British Columbia, Canada with my family in 1998. After completing my undergraduate degree in mathematics and computing science at Simon Fraser University, I moved back to Australia for several years. During this time I completed a Masters in Computational Mathematics and began my teaching career in mathematics at the University of New South Wales. In 2010, I moved back to Canada and taught computer science at Douglas College for three years. I am currently regular faculty in the Computer Business Systems department at KPU. I have also taught some courses in the Business and Quantitative Methods department at KPU. In my spare time I like to spend time with my wife Jami, who I met in Australia, our three year old daughter Lillian, and our newly born son Aiden. I also like to indulge in the occasional video game and I am involved in various self-employed web development projects.
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