Curriculum development is becoming increasingly important in higher education institutions, as the number of students enrolling in formal courses institutions offer continues to increase.
While the existing faculty may be familiar with preparing for their subject area classes, they often lack an understanding of the curriculum development process.
This article attempts to educate a faculty regarding various aspects of curriculum development while highlighting its benefits.
Curriculum development is a multi-phase process that should flow from the very beginning of preparing to teach a course.
The method includes the following steps:
Qualified resources should manage a course:
Faculty members should use the resources available to them, such as administration – for managing their courses and the overall curriculum.
Curriculum and course development are critical aspects that must be dealt with when preparing or delivering a lecture.
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Identifying the topic of the course effectively:
The faculty member’s interest should determine the course topic and include it in the curriculum. Furthermore, the teacher should also consider covering all the basics in an organized way, making the curriculum more approachable for them and their students.
Developing the curriculum objectives:
Curriculum objectives should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) and clearly stated.
The objectives should also be consistent with the chosen courses’ description and graded in a way that indicates whether they are aimed towards knowledge, acquiring skills, or designing attitudes (e.g., “KN”) or for skills development (e.g., “SD”).
Identifying your learning objective:
A curriculum should have at least one definitive objective. This objective enhances the learning process by stating what students will know or do after the curriculum is completed.
The learning objective sets the tone for what students should do at the end of a class or when a course is concluded.
Developing a syllabus and an outline for all courses:
A syllabus is a general statement of the topics covered in a class and the learning objectives. The syllabus can be accessible as a general topic outline, where each topic heading should indicate the time to be spent on it.
Faculty members should also consider how to assign credits for the course, and the syllabus should be distributed at the beginning of the classes or posted on the institution’s website.
Developing the learning objectives related to the course topic:
The learning objective should reflect the faculty member’s interest. At the same time, it should reflect on the entire course contents.
This learning objective will guide faculty members through all of the phases in curriculum development and indicate what the student will learn after completing their courses.
Selecting learning activities for a course:
This step involves deciding the teaching methods for a course, including the lecture, discussion, examination, laboratory work, field trip, etc.
The learning activities should be varied and include techniques such as problem-solving, case studies, group discussions, debates, simulations.
Presenting and practicing the material:
Instructors should teach using the syllabus, an outline, and learning objectives as references. The preparation of the learning activities for a course should include an analysis of the topic’s content and its relationship to learning objectives in the curriculum.
Revising teaching methods:
The faculty member should revise their teaching methods if they aren’t effective. They should also modify the course content if the learning objectives do not meet the standards.
Keeping the curriculum’s objective in mind, a faculty member must understand the content area to revise the methods and the goals.
Preparation of an end-of-the course evaluation:
This step involves determining what activities or factors affect student learning and how to measure these. The purpose of this evaluation should be to assess whether or not the learning objectives and teaching methods were practical.
A faculty member should use the results to revise the course or make changes in the curriculum, which will reflect in every other course.
To carry out an end-of-the-course evaluation, the faculty member should make a recording of each class.
Preparation of an end-of-the-semester review:
The review should determine the overall effectiveness of instruction and learning. It should include an evaluation of what teaching methods were adequate, grading, and evaluation system.
Lastly, to know whether or not the learning objectives were clear and straightforward.
The article went into depth on the factors that help develop an effective curriculum, which involves establishing a syllabus, learning objectives, course evaluation, evaluating learning activities, etc.
While curriculum development is iterative, the most crucial part of its development is identifying the learning objective.