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curriculum development and change

Curriculum development is influenced by a number of societal and cultural factors. Research the factors that affect curriculum development and change. Based on your research, examine your organization, school district, or community. Select the primary factors that have influenced the design and development of your curriculum the most. Identify potential change models that will be effective. Explain why you selected these factors and what impact they have had.

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The following are considered primary factors that are known to affect curriculum development and change:

A. Influential individuals- According to Lachiver& Tardif (2002),The first factor initiating change, they write,is strong leadership accepted by the academic staff. The key characteristic of such leadership is to have the capacity to attract other academic staff to rally behind principled educational objectives that are supported within the environment. The challenges, at exactly the time when all reason would suggest that they need to be building relationships with experienced academics. A reminder of this imbalance is the steady stream of students who come asking for referees' reports in connection with, for example, study abroad applications or workplace-based studentships. The best that we can usually do for them is to write "supported" on the application and sign, since we do not have any personal knowledge of their aptitudes or abilities. Smaller classes would greatly improve the lot of the average student, and enable them to build a personal relationship with at least one staff member. That relationship might then help ease some of the performance anxieties felt by students, and the consequent temptation to submit work that is not their own. Indeed, one of the most telling observations made by our graduates is that in the time they were with us, they didn't really get to know any member of the academic staff. Conversely, a surprisingly high proportion of the students that do manage to build a relationship with a staff member will continue to higher degrees, and one wonders how many potential researchers are leaving university simply because they have not had a chance to appreciate its benefits. The use of seasonal staff also means that proposals for change must be filtered through the sanity check of "will the seasonal tutors be familiar with the material?"

Ten years ago when the University of Melbourne moved to teaching a functional language in first year, availability of suitably qualified seasonal staff was a major potential stumbling block, and a special training program was run. Cost pressures can influence issues other than staff ratios. For example, a department or school might not be able to afford a site license for some software that students should perhaps experience, and so teach it at arms length in lectures; similarly, a department might consistently allocate their oldest computing facilities for undergraduate use. This then might make it hard to run the most recent versions of software, or to assign project work of the desired complexity. Another way in which financial pressures show is in
the choice between three-year programs and four-year programs. Most of us believe that our four-year programs provide the higher-quality education. But four-year programs cost more, and so we supervise compromise programs in which students do not always have the opportunity to fully refine their skills before entering the workforce.

B. Financial pressures- Clearly there are powerful budgetary forces that influence our decisions. Team-oriented project subjects are arguably one of the most important parts of a computing education, particularly for those graduates who are to work in the software industry. But they are disproportionately expensive to mount, and so are sometimes quota-ed or otherwise controlled. Class sizes are a consequence of the financial stringencies we operate under. At our institutions, first year subjects are taken in lecture groups of several hundred students, and tutorials sessions are usually largely taught by seasonal staff. So students who are new to the University face daunting Surplus staff are a related issue. How many departments, we wonder, have continued teaching of outdated assembler languages ...

Solution Summary

Curriculum development and changes are articulated and validated with research.