• Author(s): Dr Holly Smith, Dr Colleen McKenna, Dr Jenny Marie, Dr Rosalind Duhs, Dr Phyllis Creme, Dr Jane Hughes
  • Title: Designing the Curriculum
  • Subject: HE - Education
  • Keywords: UKOER, UKPSF, OMAC, CPD4HE, curriculum, curriculum design, curriculum development, literacies, key skills, values, learning technologies
  • Language(s): English
  • Material type(s): Text, Presentation
  • File format(s): ZIP, HTML, PDF, DOC, PPT
  • File size: Various
  • Publish Date: 31 October 2011
  • Licence: CC-BY-NC-SA


Activity - Manifesto for Higher Education

When planning a curriculum in HE you can't escape from the question of what the goals or purpose of the curriculum is, which is itself embedded in the bigger question of what the purpose of HE itself is. This is deeply contested territory, and authors in academia and in government have argued for different positions. One tradition is the vocational view of education which sees the function of universities as preparing people for work, particularly in the professions; it is not possible to practice law, medicine, engineering, architecture, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy or as a teacher without a higher education. The vocational arguments for higher education go beyond the requirements of particular professions however, and are often framed as preparing people for employment by training them in 'skills'. In contrast a liberal view of the purpose of education is concerned with developing the potential of citizens, with HE as the highest form of this, encouraging the flourishing of the next generation of artists, writers, scientists, who will contribute to the development of humanity. Within a vocational view the benefits of HE are in terms of human capital; a better trained workforce who will increase the United Kingdom's GDP. In the liberal view the benefits of HE are more fulfilled citizens engaged in expanding the sum of human knowledge and culture.

You may disagree with both the liberal and vocational views as sketched out here, or you may feel there are purposes of HE specific to your own discipline. Your task is set out what you think HE is for, what is it's purpose, who is it for, who benefits and in what ways? You will not be standing for election on the basis of your manifesto, so when writing your manifesto you can express your own views without consideration of their popularity.

Once you have completed your manifesto think about a particular curriculum, course or programme you teach. How are the purposes of education that you set out in your manifesto concretely and specifically reflected in your choices about syllabus, processes and participants in the real curriculum?


Creative Commons Licence
Designing the Curriculum by Dr Holly Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Based on a work at www.ucl.ac.uk.

Contact us: cpd4he@ucl.ac.uk

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