Chapter 2, Understanding the Curriculum in Engaging the Curriculum in Higher Education (2005, Barnett and Coate) is a useful starting point for considering curriculum design in HE.
This is complex area, and the slide below summarises seven notions of what might influence the development of curricula. Arguably an eigth dimension could now be added in the light of the Leitch Review (2006) and Foundation Degrees, namely that of ‘Employer Defined Curriculum’ whereby the government seeks to coerce employers into funding HE with the inducement of having a large say in the design of programmes.
Running through these notions Barnett & Coate identify three ideas that are essential in trying to understand contemporary curricula:
– the influence of the social context in the shaping of curricula
– hidden curricula processes
– the power of knowledge fields/discipline groups