A Pedagogical Approach to Module Integration: Issues, Opportunities and Barriers
Outline • Integration as an LTA Tool • Modularised Systems (SHU) • Unitised Systems (Canterbury) • Discussion
Integration as an LTA Tool • Curriculum Integration: Curriculum integration is a philosophy of delivery in which content is drawn from several subject areas to focus on a particular topic or theme. Source: The Language of learning; A guide to Education Terms, by J.L. McBrien & R.S. Brandt, 1997, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
Integration as an LTA Tool Why Integration? • Enable learners to see the bigger picture • Mitigate the effect of compartmentalisation • Help improve the learning experience • Promote better use of resources (by staff and students)
Integration as an LTA Tool Two different methods of integration: • Modular Systems Self contained, freely delivered, credit bearing modules. (Parallel Credit Accumulation) • Unitised Systems Design based units, supported by other learning activities outside these units.(In-Line Credit Accumulation)
Modularised Systems • Modular System offers choice, flexibility, quality control of performance in module • Conflict: compartmentalization of teaching and learning; curriculum goal being synthesis of knowledge • Over-assessment • little scope for free-thinking/student ownership of learning
Modularised Systems • Relate theory to practice; • Difficulties in integration of assessment; • Importance of individual, not overall, performance; • Integration limited to some design issues; • Integration requires teaching staff to have knowledge of other modules
Modularised Systems • Assessment integration focused on design studio project • Promotion of integration in delivery negated by individual assessment: 1st year students in particular confused • Joint assessment relies on development of the design and attendance of reviews • Synthesis most successful in later years
Modularised Systems • Evolutionary changes concerned with more integration and lightening the assessment load • Enhance student employability by giving them complex problems akin to those in practice • Modular system allows ease of delivery to part-time students: logistics of day release
Modularised Systems • Integrative teaching needs to be agreed by staff :students become aware of holistic nature of design in all modules • Integrative assessment requires; collaboration, forward planning, negotiation, detailed organization • Whilst the emphasis is on the design project, each project has a different emphasis on a module of study
UNIT 1: 30 CREDITS UNIT 2: 15 CREDITS UNIT 3: 30 CREDITS UNIT 4: 15 CREDITS UNIT 5: 30 CREDITS 2 3 1 WEEKS IN ACADEMIC YEAR An indicative diagram showing a typical year structure on a unitised course with assessment activities indicated as shaded areas Unitised Systems
Unitised Systems • Intra-unit Integration Within a “Design Unit” • Inter-unit Integration • Across a “Design Unit” and “Subject Specific Unit” • Reversed Integration
Unitised Systems: Issues • The design brief: a partnership • Staff roles and responsibilities • Assessment focus • Progressive and incremental integration
The Issues • Reflecting real-world ‘messy’ problems (Schon 1983)? No pre-determined solutions but unique and varied responses. • Reflective and non-reflective learning in different modules: contemplation versus memorization. • ‘Metacognition’ (Anderson et al 2001) and cultural context: student awareness and control of cognitive processes and cultural influences. • Retention and transference: experiential learning, problem-based learning (PBL), dialogue, reflection-in-learning and reflection-on-learning (Schon 1983).
The Barriers • Self contained units V holistic nature of design • Integration requires collaboration between the teaching staff • More than often, the architect who runs the year would unilaterally set the agenda • For integration to be a success, we need to keep reviewing the delivery methods for our educational programmes in an evolutionary way, rather than a revolutionary one • Barrier of realist versus relativist learners – different students can have different expectations of the courses. • Barrier of young and mature students’ attributes: pedagogy and ‘andragogy’ (Knowles 1978).