1 Óbuda University (HUNGARY)
2 Pallas Athene Domus Animae Foundation (HUNGARY)
3 University of Strathclyde Business School (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 2769-2776
ISBN: 978-84-606-8243-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
In our current curriculum design project we are building on a many-years’ experience designing curricula and starting new degree courses. We are particularly building on the methodological approach developed over the years, that can be summarised in the following five cornerstone concepts: the overall curriculum design process is ‘quasi-algorithmic’, the individual steps within the process are ‘quasi-heuristic’, the desired learning process is ‘quasi-incremental’, the outcome of this learning process is a ‘quasi-abductive’ big picture, and it is ‘quasi-validated’ in the context of a single problem area. Similarly to most of our recent endeavours, this professional doctoral school will also be post-experiential. This time, however, we are working on a unique educational concept at doctoral level. We are pioneering a professional doctorate which concept is currently unknown in the context of the Hungarian higher education.

In terms of the wider picture, we tackle the problems of university education often discussed by Sir Ken Robinson. The significance of aiming at a professional doctorate is twofold.
(1) Our focus is relevant applied, more precisely applicable, knowledge which can solve real-world problems.
(2) We are aiming at the highest level of such relevant applicable knowledge.

Our playground is the World. The professionals we expect in our school should be (or become) able of transcending the global-local dichotomy as well as a variety of disciplinary gaps. We capture this aspect in the concept of transdisciplinary GLocal Community. The local real-world problems provide the topics around which research is organised according to the interest of the individual learners, global experience is used in meaningful ways, and transdisciplinary creative problem solving is used for arriving at solutions. By the meaningful way of utilising global experience we mean that instead of trying to replicate excellent solutions (e.g. Silicon Valley) these are used as sources of learning, based on which something different is developed in the local context. Transdisciplinarity here means that practitioners from various knowledge domains work together synthesising components (conceptions, tools, solutions, worldviews, etc.) from the various disciplines in novel ways, creating solutions that have not existed before.

The research area is broadly defined by the Investor as society with particular emphasis on the economic aspect. The Investor provided us with a concept cloud, containing a few hundred concepts that describe characteristics of our ‘graduates’. We used our approach of the five cornerstone concepts to distil an order set of concepts from the cloud, and based on this we design the curriculum using what we can call a quasi-Gestalt approach, bringing some concepts to the foreground, these are the focal concepts, the rest is in the background, but these background concepts may become focal through the individual students’ research activity. This means that we suggest an open-ended structure. At the core we offer two perspectives, namely complexity and morality, which are provided in 16 ‘meetings of minds’. For this we invite world-known experts from wide-ranging disciplines (supporting transdisciplinarity), e.g. physics and biology for complexity and e.g. philosophy and human ecology for morality. Beyond this the curriculum is constructed by the learners through their collaborative transdisciplinary research.
Professional doctorate, curriculum design, transdisciplinary learning, problem-based learning.