Designing Courses for Higher Education

By Susan Toohey | Go to book overview

6
Making Learning Opportunities
More Flexible

What I'm trying to do is change my curriculum — get away from the rigid-
ity of the course as it is structured at present… and pick up subjects that
I need … I want to reach into another faculty and bring the subjects into
my programme … I'm trying to get the two faculties to liaise on this but
they don't see it — that there's an opportunity here for students to construct
more flexible programmes that engage them.

(Mature student quoted in Cartwright, 1997: 113)

Until recently there was one path to obtaining a tertiary qualification. Students passed their matriculation examinations with satisfactory results, enrolled in the university or college of their choice (or the one which would have them) and attended lectures, tutorials and meetings with supervisors according to the timetable laid down by the institution. Many students lived on campus in colleges or halls of residence, allowing ease of access to classes and libraries and ensuring maximum availability for study. Few programmes were available on a part-time basis and even fewer classes were scheduled out of normal working hours.

In the past ten years this notion of the student as someone fully available to the university or college has changed considerably, along with the idea that one dose of tertiary education, gained immediately after leaving school, was enough to last a lifetime. The explosion of professional knowledge, the need for many people to change careers during their working lives and a generally more fluid society has sent many more people in search of initial or continuing higher education. But these are students who are already far too committed to work and family obligations to make themselves available for education full time. They have begun to access the distance programmes initially designed for geographically isolated students and then to ask why the universities in their local area cannot be more flexible in their provision.

-113-

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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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