Hearing the student voice: involving students in curriculum design and development

Grant type: Development (2000-08)
Round: October 2007
Amount awarded £5,000.00
Completed: March 2010
Leader(s): Ms Fiona Campbell
Organisation: Napier University
Contact Email: f.campbell@napier.ac.uk
Contact phone: 0131 455 6102
Start Date: 1 April 2008
End Date: 30 November 2009
Interim report received: 21 May 2008
Final report received: 20 January 2010

We must engage with students in a richer, more deliberate way at the course level that acknowledges their right… to participate in the development and design of their own curriculum. (James Alexander, NUS President, Scotland, 2007).

This project will explore how universities can meaningfully involve students in shaping the content and delivery of the curriculum. Enabling students to contribute proactively enhances the curriculum and motivates students ’who gain a sense of ownership in their own educational journey’ (Davie and Galloway 1996).

But how can we enable students to take an active role in the creation of the curriculum? And how can we encourage and equip staff to work cooperatively with students in the process? Drawing on their recently-completed work within the Hearing the Student Voice project which investigated effective means to capture and use the student voice to inform academic professional development, the project team will explore innovative methods which enable students to contribute effectively to curriculum design and development. Using the materials and methodologies designed for and used successfully in the initial project, the team will develop and evaluate a range of case studies of practice which involve students contributing to the curriculum in different ways and within different contexts. The team will encourage the permeation of this activity within their own institutions by involving academic teams in the case studies and ensure cross-fertilisation of ideas by holding an inter-institutional meeting for all involved providing an opportunity to contribute to the project at an early stage in its development.

The case studies and issues arising from their development will be shared with the sector through the Hearing the Student Voice website (further developed for this purpose), a national conference and a book for academic and educational development staff on the contribution the student voice can make to enhance the learning experience which will embrace the work and outcomes of both projects