Introduction

In this course, we will design a curriculum at the level of a Two-year or Community College. The curriculum does not have to be specifically designed for use in a community college, but the content as well as the knowledge, skills, and attitudes, the participants will have after successfully completing the curriculum will be of the level of sophistication and difficulty as that found in a 2-year College curriculum. While we think of traditional educational institutions when we think in terms of curriculum, many corporations have their training programs organized into the curriculum model. This is more common as the size of the organization increases. It is also seen more commonly in organizations that require their employees to have sophisticated skill sets.

It will be somewhat easier to create a curriculum for an education setting since that will be the most familiar to most class participants. For example, determining the credit hour equivalence for a curriculum based in business or industry is not always easy and there are very often no close examples that can be used for guidance.

For our class content and examples, we will be assuming that the curriculum will be one which would be found in a two-year technical program. The reasons for this is: to allow us to cover the subject in the broadest terms; so that regardless of what the individual participants’ curriculum choice are we will all be on the same page in the class activities and materials; and this will provide the most formal structure from an organizational standpoint – or to put it another way – all of the internal and external politics will be evident using this basis.

The major deliverable for this course will be a formal report that presents, explains, and defends with valid data the curriculum project that you are proposing.

Who will this report be for? I don't know – you tell me.

What type of report will it be and what is expected to be in the report? That is what you will be learning in this class. One thing you will find out in this class is that developing a curriculum is one thing, selling that curriculum and getting the project done is a whole other thing entirely. Often developing the curriculum is far easier than getting the curriculum accepted. Of course, you would not start developing the curriculum until the concept is accepted by the decision makers.

What is a Curriculum

The first question that we should probably ask is what exactly is a curriculum. Since this class is about developing a curriculum it would be a good idea to know beforehand what it is we are developing.

A couple of basic definitions of what a curriculum is and a few closely related concepts. are provided. A problem occurs if you define a curriculum too broadly as that might not provide much information about exactly what it is, yet if you define a curriculum too narrowly you leave out many things that really should be considered a curriculum.

Fortunately for us we are much, much, more interested in creating a curriculum in application then we are in defining a curriculum in theory, so we'll use the following definitions to provide a basis from which to start our discussions -- and not much more.

According to Finch and Krounkilton a curriculum is the sum of the learning activities and experiences that a student has under the auspices or direction of the school and goes on to say that it's a broad range of student experiences in a school setting.

They say that curriculum development is focused on the content and areas related to it. While they say instruction focuses on the delivery of these experiences. They go on to say it is the planned interaction between teachers and students that hopefully results in desirable learning. Finch and Krounkilton say that instructional development consists of planning done in direct support of student learning.

According to Kost, curriculum is a set of activities that, operating collectively, is expected to achieve well-defined goals and objectives within a specified time frame. The activities in a program should be a set of individual parts that have a carefully designed interrelationship. We need to be very clear for this class that what we are doing is not developing a course. You have, or should have, already learned how to do that. We will be flushing out one single course in the entire curriculum that we design as an example of what the courses would look like, however, that is only a minor part of what we will be doing in this class.

We will be creating a course of study, a curriculum. One obvious difference between a course of study or curriculum and a course is that a curriculum is made up of courses. So, a course might be JavaScript Programming and a curriculum might be Programming for the Web in which a JavaScript course is a part. From the point of view of the participants of your instructional program, if participants trying to get a job as an entry-level programmer a single course in JavaScript is probably not going to do very much to help participants land that job. A certificate or degree which would be obtained after successful completion of an appropriate curriculum, especially if obtained from an accredited institution, could, and all things considered, probably would be significant to an employer looking to add programming staff.