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CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK: A TOOL FOR INNOVATIVE PROGRAMME DEVELOPMENT

Authors:
CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK: A TOOL FOR
INNOVATIVE PROGRAMME DEVELOPMENT
P. Stynes1, P. Pathak2
1Paul.Stynes@ncirl.ie, National College of Ireland (IRELAND)
2Pramod.Pathak@ncirl.ie, National College of Ireland (IRELAND)
Abstract
Curriculum development in the computing area has become critically important as computing
technology has become pervasive and the applications of technology are the basis of society and
work. Maintaining the relevancy of the student’s knowledge skills and competence to the needs of the
economy is a challenge. The Curriculum Development Framework (CDF) created by authors is a tool
that integrates various aspects of programme development such as pedagogical innovation, student
success, and industry feedback. The aim of the academic curriculum development framework is to
provide graduates with the relevant knowledge, skills and competence to ensure their employability in
the economy. This paper reviews the current curriculum development practices in the Higher
Education sector and proposes an innovative framework CDF which has been implemented and
evaluated. Implementation of CDF makes it easier for the curriculum development team to create a
course/programme that is enterprising, responsive to the needs of the learner and industry focussed.
The framework defines how modules support the programme goals and the well-defined processes
that are used to achieve the desired outcomes. CDF is designed to optimise the resources of the
curriculum development team and to seamlessly create a new academic programme. The CDF also
allows for a fundamental and critical re-appraisal of programmes of education with the opportunity to
substantially update and modify the original academic programme. CDF has been applied successfully
to undergraduate programme development and revalidation in Computing with great success resulting
in the approval of outstanding programmes.
Keywords: Curriculum Development, Programme Validation, Programme Revalidation
1 INTRODUCTION
Curriculum development is the process through which an educational programme is planned,
designed and approved for delivery. A programme of education and training is a process by which a
learner acquires knowledge, skill or competence and includes a course of study and a course of
instruction [1]. A programme of education is accredited by a national organization for a period of time.
In computing, technology is pervasive and changes rapidly as demonstrated in Gartner’s hyper curve
[2] and the TIOBE index [3]. Accredited programme can go out of date and maintaining the relevancy
of the student’s knowledge skills and competence to the needs of the economy is a challenge.
National organisations such as QQI [1] that maintain quality and accountability often based on
statutory law will influence curriculum development based on National Qualifications Frameworks [4]
and policies and criteria for validating programmes of education [1]. The validation criteria are a
learning outcomes approach where the curriculum is built on knowledge, skills and competences and
strengthens the link between the curriculum and the economy. Krichewsky et al observes three
curriculum development phases where the first phase is dedicated to analysing work requirements, a
second to developing the curriculum based on these requirements and a third phase dedicated to
developing a learning programme [5]. The outcome-oriented curricula provide more autonomy and
responsibility to education providers in curriculum development as opposed to a centralized curriculum
development process.
The aim of this research is to investigate a Curriculum Development Framework (CDF) that allows
educators to integrate various aspects of programme development such as pedagogical innovation,
student success, and industry feedback to create a programme that provides graduates with the
relevant knowledge, skills and competence to ensure their employability in the economy.
The remainder of this paper describes the CDF in section 2. Section 3 discusses the methodology
applied in this research with an application of the CDF in the National College of Ireland (NCI). Section
4 discusses the results in the context of previous curriculum development evaluations. Section 5
concludes the paper with the key findings, limitations, and future work.
2 CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK
The curriculum development process model is shown in Fig. 1. The process model consists of 5
phases that may be used in the complete lifecycle for managing, creating and reviewing programmes
of education. The phases consist of Management Structures, Stakeholder Consultation, Curriculum
Review, Curriculum Development, and Curriculum Validation.
The management structure for curriculum development is created in phase 1. The process is project-
managed by a project steering group consisting of senior academic leaders and the director of quality
assurance. The project steering committee is responsible for defining the terms of reference. The
programme committee ensures the relevance and quality of the curriculum development. The higher
educational provider’s quality assurance processes apply to the curriculum development. The
programme committee team explores the terms of reference as part of the curriculum development.
In phase 2 Stakeholder Consultation contains three activities namely, Work Analysis, Market Analysis
and Stakeholder Consultation. Work Analysis focuses on identifying the needs of the economy through
future competence and skills shortages and current advertised vacancies. This analysis is aligned to
the school’s strategy for curriculum development. Future competence and skills shortages are
identified in national reports. Current advertised vacancies provide insight into the potential roles of
graduates, and the requirements, technical and transferable skills and education required to carry out
this role. This information is used to create an occupational profile that a graduate will attain. An
approach to linking the relevancy of the programme of education to the needs of the economy is by
emphasizing the programme learning outcomes and the knowledge skills and competence that is
designed into the curriculum under development.
A market analysis of national and international academic programmes offered by higher education
providers will provide confidence in the programme title, programme level, programme structure,
modules, and credit value of modules under consideration. A frequency analysis of modules will
provide insight into modules with a higher probability of being included into the curriculum structure.
Professional and standards bodies will also provide curricula recommendations. In activity 2.3
Stakeholder Analysis, stakeholders will provide feedback on curriculum development. Stakeholders
can include but not limited to faculty, current students, past students, services within the college such
as student services including disability support, student counselling & wellness service, academic
support office, library, IT, students union, international office, marketing department, work placement
coordinator, career guidance counsellors and national and international colleges that will provide
students to the programme. Stakeholders such as the disability officer can provide insights into
suitable assessments for a wide range of students with disabilities. The student counselling & wellness
service can provide insight in to any potential curriculum structures that could provide increased stress
to a student. The marketing department can provide guidance on suitable programmes that would be
of interest to potential students. This includes advice on a suitable programme titles and content for
the programme.
Phase 3 Curriculum Review is applicable if the curriculum has been in use for a period of time. This
phase may be skipped if it is a new curriculum development. The goal of this phase is to provide a
critical review of the current academic curriculum under revalidation. The critical review is broadly
divided into the following categories: an analysis of enrolment and applications; characteristics of
learners on the programme; an analysis of attrition, transfer, progression and completion statistics; an
analysis of grades and degree award classifications; destination of graduates; external examiner
reports and analysis; and an overview of the current structure and workload involved in the
programme.
Acvity 5.1 Validaon Panel
Curriculum Structure and
Module Descriptors
Future Skills Needs
School Strategy for
Curriculum
Development
Acv ity 2.1 Work Analysis
Acv ity 32.2 Market Aalysis
Acv ity 2.3 Stakeholder Analysis
Professional
and Standards
Bodies
Provide Feedback
Current
Adversed
Jobs
HE Provider
Curriculum
Occupaonal Pro,le
Naon al and
Internaonal Programme
Details
Stakeholder Feedback
Stakeholders
Phase 2 Stakeholder Consultaon
Acv ity 1.1 Governance
Project Steering Group
Create
Programme Commi0e
include
Terms of Reference
Phase 1 Management Structures
Acv ity 53.1 Crical Review
Programme Review Self-
Evaluaon
Programme Baseline
Quantave and
Qualitave Data
Acv ity 4.1 Curriculum
Development Strategies
Acv ity 4.2 Industry Panel
Review
Acv ity 4.3 Curriculum
Development
Develop
Strategies for Curriculum
Development
Curriculum Structure and
High Level Module
Descriptor
Revised Curriculum
Structure and High Level
Module Descriptor
Programme Commi0ee
Phase 3 Curriculum Review
Dra8 Self Evaluaon
Against Criteria
Acv ity 4.4 Programme
Development
Dra8 Programme of
Educaon
Dra8 Programme Review
Self-Evaluaon
Phase 4 Curriculum Development
Phase 5 Curriculum Validaon
QA
Processes
Programme Review Self-
Evaluaon
Self Evaluaon
Against Criteria
Programme of
Educaon
Programme Team Response
to Validaon Panel Report
Fig. 1 Curriculum Development Framework
The review considers baseline quantitative and qualitative data that should be gathered during the
period since the previous validation. Baseline data typically comes from application data, enrolment
data, attrition, transfer, progression and completion data, yearly exam results, external examiner
reports, analysis of grades and award classifications and benchmarking them against corresponding
results published by other higher education providers, destinations of learners who have graduated,
weekly attendance statistics by module. The academic governance structures that manage the
programme can provide qualitative data such as school minutes, programme committee minutes,
minutes of class representative meetings, annual monitoring reports, formal and informal complaints.
The review provides insights into trends and possible issues with the current academic curriculum.
Phase 4 Curriculum Development contains four activities namely, Curriculum Development Strategies,
Industry Panel Review, Curriculum Development, and Programme Development. Strategies for
curriculum development are devised to address the outcome of the analysis and feedback from
stakeholders.
The strategies are drawn from the occupational profile, insights from national and international
programmes, stakeholder feedback and issues with curriculum identified in the programme review
self-evaluation. The strategies, analysis and feedback are translated into the programme learning
outcomes, curriculum structure and high-level module descriptors including module learning
outcomes. The Industry Panel Review activity is to ensure that the learning outcomes, programme
structure and high-level module descriptors will provide students with the knowledge skills and
competence that are relevant to the needs of the economy. The goal of this activity is to get an
endorsement of the programme from the industry panel. Curriculum Development involves the faculty
from the programme committee developing their module descriptors in terms of module aims and
objectives, minimum intended module learning outcomes, rationale for inclusion of the module in the
programme and its contribution to the overall minimum intended programme learning outcomes,
information provided to learners about the module, module content, organization and structure,
module teaching and learning strategy (including formative assessment), timetabling, learner effort
and credit, work-based learning and practice-placement, E-learning, module physical resource
requirements, specifications for module staffing requirements, module assessment, module re-
assessment, reading lists and other information resources and sample assessment materials. The
module teaching and learning strategy allows for the inclusions of pedagogic innovation that inform
new forms of teaching, learning and assessment. Programme Development involves the programme
director completing the programme and including sections that relate to higher education provider
details, educational and training objectives and minimum intended programme and module learning
outcomes, programme concept, implementation strategy, and its interpretation of awarding body’s
awards standards; access, transfer and progression procedures, criteria and arrangements for the
programme; written curriculum; module documentation; programme staff; physical resources; and
programme management.
The section on educational and training objectives and minimum intended programme and module
learning outcomes involves describing the programme aims and objectives, rationale for the choice of
named award standard, the award standard used, minimum intended programme learning outcomes
(MIPLOs), minimum intended module learning outcomes (MIMLOs), mapping the MIPLOs against the
awards standards and demonstrating consistency, comparing the MIPLOs with those of comparable
programmes, mapping the MIMLOs against the awards standards and describing the transferrable
skills.
The section on programme concept, implementation strategy, and its interpretation of awarding body’s
awards standards describes the rationale for providing the programme, profile of learners that would
be enrolled, education and training needs met by the programme, alignment of programme with
professional/occupational profile, how the programme and its intended programme learning outcomes
were conceived, researched and developed, interpretation of the awards standards & research
supporting the programme aims, objectives & MIPLOs, involvement of employers and practitioners in
the design of vocationally oriented programme: process and outcomes, comparison with other
programmes (of other providers), evidence of support for the introduction of the programme, evidence
of learner demand for the programme, evidence of employment opportunities for graduates, planned
intake (of learners), and five-year plan for the proposed programme.
The section on access, transfer and progression procedures, criteria and arrangements for the
programme describe information to be made available to learners about the programme, entry
procedures and criteria for the programmes including procedures for recognition of prior learning,
programme-specific transfer (outward) procedures and criteria, professional accreditation of the
programme, and detail the credit system used for the programme.
The section on written curriculum describes an outline of the curriculum, rationale for the curriculum
structure, rationale for the programmes duration, credit allocation, indicative timetable and its rationale,
integrated learning opportunities and assessment in light of the MIPLOs, programme teaching and
learning strategy (including formative assessment), integration, organisation and oversight of work-
based learning, programme learning environment, programme-specific arrangements for monitoring
progress and guiding, informing and caring for learners, programme summative assessment strategy,
indicative assessment schedule, and proposed programme and stage schedules. The programme
teaching and learning strategy includes blended and online learning and the student success strategy.
The section on module documentation contains the module descriptors. The section on programme
staff describes the programme director and board, complement of staff (or potential staff),
arrangements for the oversight of employer-based personnel involved in apprenticeship or traineeship
programmes, CVs for the programmes key staff (e.g. the programme leadership) and for the identified
complement of staff, and recruitment plan for staff not already in post.
The section on physical resources describes specifications of the programmes physical resource
requirements, complement of supported physical resources (or potential ones), and company
placement resources.
The section on programme management describes documented procedures for the operation and
management of the programme, supplementary QA procedures for the programme, mechanisms to
keep the programme updated and how it will be updated in consultation with stakeholders, compliance
with special validation criteria or requirements attached to the applicable awards standards,
membership and terms of reference for the programme committee, collaborative provision, and
transnational provision.
An output of this activity is a programme self-evaluation against criteria. This document evaluates the
programme based on criteria such as criteria 1 (C1) the provider is eligible to apply for validation of the
programme; (C2) the programme objectives and outcomes are clear and consistent with the awards
sought; (C3) the programme concept, implementation strategy, and its interpretation of awards
standards are well informed and soundly based (considering social, cultural, educational, professional
and employment objectives); (C4) the programmes access, transfer and progression arrangements
are satisfactory; (C5) the programmes written curriculum is well structured and fit-for-purpose; (C6)
there are sufficient qualified and capable programme staff available to implement the programme as
planned; (C7) there are sufficient physical resources to implement the programme as planned; (C8)
The learning environment is consistent with the needs of the programmes learners; (C9) there are
sound teaching and learning strategies; (C10) there are sound assessment strategies; (C11) learners
enrolled on the programme are well informed, guided and cared for; (C12) and the programme is well
managed.
The validation panel will evaluate the programme in three sessions that address the criteria for
evaluation. The sessions are: session 1 (S1): Programme rationale and overall structure which covers
criteria 2,3 and 4; (S2): Curriculum, Learning Teaching & Assessment which addresses criteria 5, 9
and 10; (S3) Resourcing and supports for learners which addresses criteria 6,7,8,11 and 12. The
academic leader delivers an initial presentation to set the scene. The presentation focuses on the
school curriculum development strategy, stakeholder demand for the programme, the purpose of the
programme of education (with a focus on the role of graduates), curriculum development strategies
drawn from phase 2 and 3 of the process model, the programme structure highlighting the changes as
a result of the curriculum development strategies. The panel will write an Independent Programme
Review Report that highlights any conditions and recommendations to the validation. The programme
committee are required to make the necessary updates to the programme documentation and write a
response to the programme review report.
3 METHODOLOGY
The aim of this research is to investigate if a Curriculum Development Framework (CDF) allows
educators to integrate various aspects of programme development such as pedagogical innovation,
student success, and industry feedback to create a programme that provides graduates with the
relevant knowledge, skills and competence to ensure their employability in the economy.
The Curriculum Development Framework (CDF) was applied to four programmes in the School of
Computing at the National College of Ireland [6]. The three programmes undergoing a programme
revalidation are the BSc (Hons) in Computing, Higher Certificate in Computing and the Higher Diploma
in Computing. There is also a requirement to create a new programme of education the Certificate in
Computing. The revalidation and validation of new programmes of education is undertaken in
accordance with NCI’s internal quality assurance processes which are informed by QQI’s Core
Statutory Quality Assurance (QA) Guidelines [7] and QQI’s Policies and criteria for the validation of
programmes of education and training [1]. The project steering group consisting of senior academic
leaders and quality assurance such as Dean and Vice Dean of School, Director of Quality Assurance
and Programme Director that chairs the programme committee.
Future skills shortages are identified in national reports such as publications from the expert group on
future skills needs [8] such as Digital Business Transformation, and specialisations in AI and
Blockchain. Current advertised vacancies provide insight into the potential roles of graduates, and the
knowledge skills and competence required to carry out the role including transferable skills. For
example a job advertised on a national website [9] for a job title of Software Engineer advertises for
skills in Java programming, test driven development with an honours degree in computing and can
work collaboratively in a team.
Professional and standards bodies such as the TIOBE Index [3] and the ACM [10] provide curricula
recommendations for computing such as Information Systems. An analysis of similar programmes
was researched nationally such as UCD [11], and internationally such as Cambridge [12], in order to
provide insight into the structure and modules that would be suitable for the programmes of education.
Stakeholders ranged from current, past and future students, and colleges of further education. Student
demand was evidenced from students that apply to third level colleges through the central application
office (CAO) [13]. Student demand was also evidenced through international collaborations such as
[14] and advanced standing with Colleges of Further Education such as [15]. Discussions with
stakeholders such as colleges of further education indicated a need to provide their students with a
progression route in higher education where they enter the programme in year 2.
For phase 3 curriculum review, the following are sample answers to the categories discussed in the
CDF. For an analysis of enrolment and applications the trend for the total number of applications for
the BSc (Hons) in Computing is reflective of the broad sectoral trend which has seen a reduction in
numbers of students going into ICT. For registration data that relates to the deferral rate for part-time
students, the percentage of deferral students and the frequency of years for deferring is higher in part-
time students which indicates a need for a strategy to restructure the part-time course over 3
semesters.
For characteristics of learners on the programme, the gender balance is in line with the sector in that it
favours males. Whilst female students are generally under-represented in Computing, NCI is
committed to improving the gender balance on these programmes. NCI is pursuing the Athena
SWAN Charter [16] which aims to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of
women in science, technology, engineering, math’s and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher
education and research.
For an analysis of attrition, transfer, progression and completion statistics, the completion rates for the
full-time programme shows that the average completion rates for year one to four for the academic
year 2015-18 are in the range of 72.4% to 98.6%. Year 4 has the lowest completion rate (72.4%). The
completion rates analysis indicates a need for a strategy to look at the 4th year experience as part of
the programme revalidation.
For an analysis of grades and degree award classifications, the analysis of module pass/fail rates
focused on modules which persistently had a failure rate of 20% or more such as Introduction to
Programming which indicates the need for supporting this module through a programming
strengthening strategy. In 4th year, during both 2017 and 2018 several modules that were part of the
specialization in a technology area that has a high failure rate. This would indicate a need to look at a
strategy to support modules that are in a specialization.
For destination of graduates, the majority of graduates are employed as IT specialists in a wide variety
of IT, financial, telecommunications and services companies. The highest number of positions are
Software Developer, IT/Technical Support and Testing. The current programme handles testing in a
limited way and this would indicate a need to look at a strategy for Testing.
For external examiner reports and analysis, the external examiner reports indicate recommendations
for assessment around refining grading rubrics.
An overview of the current structure and workload involved in the programme, examines the stages,
semesters and the modules in the programme with emphasis on the credits allocated, contact hours
for lectures and tutorials, assessment breakdown based on weightings between continuous
assessment or terminal exam to see if there is excessive workload in the programme [17].
In phase 4, activity 4.1 Curriculum Development Strategies involves combing all the strategies that will
shape the new curriculum such as:- Strategy 1 (S1) Programming Strengthening; S2. Undergraduate
Integration; S3. Testing; S4. Information Systems; S5. 4th year experience and S6. 4th year
specialisation. The Programming Strengthening Strategy involves increasing the weight of
programming modules in year 2 and year 3 from 5 credits to 10 credits, and by allowing students work
independently on projects to ensure that deep learning has taken place. In addition, increasing the
number of lectures and labs for programming from 4 hours per week to 6 hours per week. The
Undergraduate Integration Strategy provides students with opportunities to learn with students from a
diversity of undergraduate programmes. Information Systems Strategy provides the students with
alternative routes for completing the BSc (Hons) in Computing based on sub-disciplines of Computing
as defined by the ACM [10] Information Systems. This is implemented through modules in the 4th year
specialisations such as Digital Business Transformation. The Testing Strategy includes the addition of
a new module on testing, namely Software Quality and Testing. Test Driven Development is also
included in modules Software Engineering, Team Project and Cloud Application Development. The 4th
year Experience strategy focuses on motivating students by providing a deepening specialisation in
the areas that learners have chosen such as AI, Blockchain and so on. This strategy is implemented
through having one module per semester at 10 credits in the area of the specialisation. 4th year
specialisation Strategy is designed to motivate students by providing them with specialisations based
on the needs of industry in order to ensure students have the knowledge, skills and competence that
are relevant to the workforce such as AI and Blockchain. In addition, the structure of the revised
programme allows the students gain the knowledge of the specialisations in 3rd year prior to making a
commitment before they actually specialise in an area.
The industry panel helped to refine programme structure and content at a more granular level. The
defining statement from the industry panel was that they believe that after 4th year, graduates would
be qualified to work in a software development role.
Activity 4.2 Module Development involved assigning faculty to modules, providing a workshop on the
use of tools for creating the modules such as Akari Curriculum Management [18]. The faculty are
responsible for creating the module descriptors including identifying pedagogic innovations as part of
their teaching and learning strategy such as the Flip Classroom Pedagogy in Mathematics [19].
Activity 4.3 Programme Development involved the programme team creating the programme and
integrating the modules. Faculty provided support for proof reading, and ensuring the programmes
consistency. Finance provided projections for income, expenditure and student numbers for the first
five years. The programme team debated the teaching and learning assessment strategy, blended and
online strategy and student success strategies. The programme director completed the mapping of the
programme learning outcomes against the awarding body’s (QQI) awards standards and provided
evidence that the programme learning outcomes are addressed in the module learning outcomes and
appropriate assessment of the module learning outcome. For example, the computing award standard
for level 8 honours degree for knowledge breadth indicates the learner will have knowledge and
understanding of advanced concepts in areas such as software engineering. Knowledge-Breadth is
supported by the programme learning outcome MIPLO1: Demonstrate fundamental concepts and
theories in the specialist areas of computing relating to: Software Development; Blockchain; Artificial
Intelligence and Machine Learning; Data Analytics; Internet of Things; Cyber Security and Digital
Business Transformation. The evidence that MIPLO1 is supported by module learning outcomes
MIMLOs from a number of modules on the programme such as Artificial Intelligence: LO1, LO3, LO4.
The analysis indicates that for example, the Artificial Intelligence module at level 8, enables the learner
to describe the theory and concepts underpinning Artificial Intelligence as demonstrated in a terminal
examination.
In phase 5 Curriculum Validation, activity 5.1 Validation Panel, the programme director’s identified
academics and industry representatives that could take part as panel members. Their role was to
undertake a review of the documentation provided, take part in a site visit and produce an
Independent Evaluation Report that represents the dialogue between the NCI and the panel on the
day of the site visit, and of the panel’s recommendation of validation and or conditions and
recommendations for the programmes of education. The selection criteria for the academics on the
panel was to ensure that the academic was a programme director or delivering on a similar
programme and that there was no gender bias.
4 RESULTS
The validation panel’s Independent Evaluation report documents the conditions and recommendations
of the panel for the validation of the programmes of education as described in Table 1. The conditions
and recommendations do not affect the structure or modules created in the curriculum development
framework. This would suggest that the CDF is an effective approach for curriculum development.
Table 1 Evaluation Panel’s Recommendation to Awarding Body
Programmes Details
BSc (Hons)
C1. Monitor the measures that address student engagement and
achievement in 4th year through the annual programme review
process.
C2. Clarify the inconsistencies and typographical errors in the
module documentation and programme schedules.
R1. Provide clarity to all prospective and enrolled learners that not all
of the advertised specialisms may run in 4th year.
Higher
Certificate
C2. Clarify the inconsistencies and typographical errors in the
module documentation and programme schedules.
Higher Diploma C2. Clarify the inconsistencies and typographical errors in the
module documentation and programme schedules.
Certificate C2. Clarify the inconsistencies and typographical errors in the
module documentation and programme schedules.
To create a programme that provides graduates with the relevant knowledge, skills and competence to
ensure their employability in the economy will be validated over the next five years. The CDF was
developed and refined based on experience of programme validations over 18 years. The CDF was
initially piloted in the programme review of the BSc (Hons) in Computing in 2015 and the current
programme review in 2020. Historically one can get a sense of the employability of graduates from the
BSc (Hons) in Computing from the results of graduate destination surveys conducted by NCI Career’s
Office. With a response rate of over 90% every year, the employability rate from 2015 to 2018 ranged
from 88% to 96%. The highest employability rate (close to 100%) was achieved by the 2017 and 2018
cohorts. The majority of graduates are employed as IT specialists in a wide variety of IT, financial,
telecommunications and services companies. The highest number of positions are Software
Developer, IT/Technical Support and Testing.
The existing CDF as documented in section 3 captures the current methodology of programme
development as applied in Ireland. This framework is currently based on the product model [20] and
process model [21] in some respects. The application of CDF has resulted in development of very
successful programmes at National College of Ireland. One of the weaknesses of the current approach
to programme development is that it is more subject/discipline/theme-centred [22]. The programme
development approaches are now including some choice for students to design their own pathway. In
this context, Universal Design of learning is an important perspective as that brings learner to the
centre of learning, teaching and assessment. Embedding of Universal Design principles in the
curriculum has mainly remained as a guiding principle and it needs to percolate into learning, teaching
and assessment strategies of the courses.
5 CONCLUSIONS
This research presented the Curriculum Development Framework that allows educators to integrate
various aspects of programme development such as pedagogical innovation, student success, and
industry feedback to create a programme that provides graduates with the relevant knowledge, skills
and competence to ensure their employability in the economy.
The key findings from the evaluation of the CDF was a successful revalidation of three programmes
and validation of a new programme with no impacts on the curriculum development. The employability
of the graduates of these programmes will be ascertained by the careers office surveys that will take
place annually from 2021 to 2025. The CDF evolved over several years and historically the
employability of one of the programmes has been within the range of 86% to 96%. This would be an
indicator that the employability of the students will continue to be high due to the changes in the
curriculum structure that introduces specialisations that meet the needs of the economy.
Future work can explore the design and implementation of a formalised and machine understandable
support tool around the five phases of the CDF process model. Building on research in curriculum
development automation [23], the ontology-driven support tool will be capable of curriculum
development automation.
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