Academic journal article School Libraries Worldwide

Creating Online Curriculum: Effective Partnerships

Academic journal article School Libraries Worldwide

Creating Online Curriculum: Effective Partnerships

Article excerpt

This article provides a process and rationale for the development of a module of online curriculum designed to enhance curriculum delivery for students. An outline of the technology infrastructure, the learning environment being created, and the role of the teacher librarian are discussed in relation to outcomes-based education and current changes in educational pedagogy. The partnership between the teacher librarian and the teacher in the design and creation of this online learning experience is detailed, including planned developments in online curriculum delivery.

Introduction

As we move into the 21st century, society is faced with the dilemma of having too much information. With the introduction of computers, microwave transmissions, television, satellites, and the Internet, our ability to produce information has surged ahead of our capacity to process it (Shenk, 1997). Telecommunication technologies are becoming increasingly available in classrooms and educational institutions across Australia and the world are committed to a belief that the use of technology as a means of education delivery has the potential to enhance significantly the teaching strategies and resources currently available to schools (Schools Online Curriculum Content Initiative, 2000). Thus a major challenge faced by teachers and students in schools is the management of an ever-expanding body of information and the effective incorporation of strategies for dealing with these learning technologies and this overload, via traditional curriculum and teaching methodology.

In order to prepare our students for life after school, there has been a pedagogical shift away from content-based curriculum to the provision of an outcomes-focused teaching and learning environment where developing information skills and an understanding of the process of knowledge acquisition, evaluation, and creation is a major goal for students. At the end of their schooling we wish our students to be adaptable, flexible learners with the skills needed to locate, process, and utilize information in contexts relevant to them and at the point of need. How does this pedagogical shift and the continually changing face of technology affect the development of online learning in schools? How can staff facilitate change at the classroom level to reflect the changing needs of the curriculum, the students, and teachers? This article describes how successful partnerships between teachers and the teacher librarian can create new and innovative learning opportunities for students that integrate information and communication technologies (ICT) and outcomes-based educational pedagogy into curriculum.

Background

Sevenoaks Senior College is a new government secondary school located in the suburb of Cannington, Perth, Western Australia. The College opened in February 2001 and caters to students in the last two postcompulsory years of schooling (students ages range from 16-20). It has a current enrollment of approximately 440 and caters to students studying a range of subjects accredited for the TEE (Tertiary Entrance Examination, designed for university entrance) as well as non-TEE areas including VET (Vocational Education and Training subjects), SWL (Structured Workplace Learning), Fast Track (programs designed to up-skill students wishing to return to the school system or the workplace) and Education Support programs (students with disabilities). Although these programs in postcompulsory schooling in Australia are not entirely new, Sevenoaks is working toward the utilization of a range of community resources, multi-campus sharing, and curriculum delivery that are innovative features of the College. The College also has a stated commitment to increasing retention rates of students in this age group in a socioeconomic area that has traditionally had poor retention rates. By running a variety of programs available in a range of contexts and through the use of online delivery, the College offers more flexibility in the delivery of programs and thus caters to a broader range of student needs and learning styles. …

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