Designing Courses for Higher Education

By Susan Toohey | Go to book overview

4
Thinking about Goals
and Content
If we believe that higher education amounts to more than the sum of the knowledge and skills which we acquire through studying different topics; if we subscribe to the idea that learning has the potential to transform our understanding of the way the world works and the way we operate within it; then we need to consider the larger goals of our programme of study. And to be of most value, programme goals need to be clarified very early in the course design process so that choices about content, structure and learning activities can be made with goals in mind.Thinking about our beliefs about education and the outcomes which we value most highly is a starting point for determining what we might aim to achieve in a particular course. Discussion with colleagues who will teach on the course is invaluable, and input from current practitioners and community contacts can help in deciding whether one factor or another needs to be emphasized for this particular time or context.
The desirable qualities of graduates
A considerable amount of work has recently been done in different quarters in attempting to define what might be the expected outcomes of a university education, in whatever field. In the UK the Higher Education Quality Council (HEQC) has suggested that the award of a degree is likely to signify at least three kinds of achievement. These they characterize as:
field-specific knowledge — the possession of a body of knowledge and other qualities particular to the field (or fields) studied;
shared attributes — the possession of certain more general attributes that might be common to graduates from families of degrees, whether associated by cognate subject matter and/or approach (such as the life sciences or the performing arts);

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Designing Courses for Higher Education
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgements *
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: Pressures for Change 4
  • 2: The Course Design Process 21
  • 3: Beliefs, Values and Ideologies in Course Design 44
  • 4: Thinking About Goals and Content 70
  • 5: The Structure of the Course 91
  • 6: Making Learning Opportunities More Flexible 113
  • 7: Deciding on Goals and Objectives for Units of Study 130
  • 8: Choosing Teaching Strategies 152
  • 9: Assessment 167
  • 10: Implementing the New Course 187
  • References 205
  • Index 211
  • The Society for Research into Higher Education 217
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