STARTING WITH THE STAKEHOLDERS: ENGAGING THE COMMUNITY IN CURRICULUM DESIGN
Aurora University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Recognizing the need for an innovative curriculum to support a new STEM School on a university’s campus, community stakeholders collectively participated in a three phase program to provide a progressive approach to career development in the STEM fields. The designed STEM curriculum, grounded in manufacturing and supply chain, was collaboratively written by educators, corporate partners, nonprofit partners, and university faculty. The curriculum design team all shared the same common goal: educating students for successful careers using STEM as a curricular core. The three phases of the curriculum design included establishing a curricular framework, writing the units of study, and evaluating the process.
For a nearly a year, a unique group of K-20 educators including a preservice teacher, representatives of industrial partners, and nonprofit community partners met weekly to develop a curricular framework centered on the manufacturing process. The curricular framework served as a common language as this group engaged in a non-traditional method of curriculum design. The four pillars of the resulting framework include Design Process Understanding, Interpersonal Attributes, Career Awareness, and Industry Experiences and Activities. Evaluation of this first stage revealed team members were engaged, interested, and gained new perspectives.
The curriculum design framework was followed by a series of graduate coursework to enable writing of the units of study. Each course again engaged teams of educators, partners, and faculty in learning about the partners invested in contributing to the curriculum writing, developing STEM units of study, and researching resources and assessments for these units of study. In addition to participant surveys, educators enrolled in the courses completed pretests and posttests on validated diagnostic assessments. In some content areas, data revealed gains in teacher content knowledge as a result of the unit of study curricular writing. Following the coursework, a gap analysis was performed on the final units of study to ensure a rigorous curriculum that encompassed necessary standards.
In evaluating the process, all groups noted areas of growth, specifically the benefit of the partnership. Hallmarks of the successful partnership used in the curricular design included mutual respect, engaged learning and participation, and an understanding that every partner has a stake. A variety of opportunities has developed as a result of the curricular writing, an example being undergraduate computer science students being able to design websites for teachers and partners to access units of study and available resources. Both the immediate and distant successes of the entire curriculum writing process will be shared, along with ideas for future curriculum revision.
Keywords: Curriculum, STEM, Teacher training, Partnership.