Micro and Macro Level Issues in Curriculum Development

Micro and Macro Level Issues in Curriculum Development

Johanna Lammintakanen (University of Kuopio, Finland) and Sari Rissanen (University of Kuopio, Finland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch405
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Abstract

It is a well-known fact that an educational paradigm shift occurred in the course of the last decade, with a move from traditional to Web-based education at various educational levels (Harasim, 2000; Karuppan, 2001; Kilby, 2001). Webbased education (WBE) has advanced from the delivery of educational content to Web-based sites with interactive functions (Carty & Philip, 2001). Concurrently, new innovative kinds of pedagogical experiments have shifted the paradigm from teaching to learning (Pahl, 2003). However, there is a greater need for innovation in the area of pedagogy rather than that of technology (Littig, 2006). Indeed, educators have realized, as summarized by Armstrong (2001), that good Web-based educational theory and good educational theory are one and the same, the only difference being that WBE transcends the barriers of space and time. The paradigmatic shift has occurred in both global education (including developing countries) and corporate training. The key impetus for this shift may vary in these areas, but the role of knowledge and intellectual capital, coupled with the needs of organizations and individuals to learn more rapidly, are apparent as the driving forces for WBE (e.g., Bell, Martin, & Clarke, 2004). The growth of WBE has been part of planned educational policy, but at the same time, good international or national experiences have also supported its growth. Furthermore, the cash crises in the western university sector (Bell et al., 2004) and the endeavors towards more coherent and cohesive educational systems and degrees, especially in the European context (Littig, 2006), can be identified as the other galvanizing factors for this shift.
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Introduction

It is a well-known fact that an educational paradigm shift occurred in the course of the last decade, with a move from traditional to Web-based education at various educational levels (Harasim, 2000; Karuppan, 2001; Kilby, 2001). Web-based education (WBE) has advanced from the delivery of educational content to Web-based sites with interactive functions (Carty & Philip, 2001). Concurrently, new innovative kinds of pedagogical experiments have shifted the paradigm from teaching to learning (Pahl, 2003). However, there is a greater need for innovation in the area of pedagogy rather than that of technology (Littig, 2006). Indeed, educators have realized, as summarized by Armstrong (2001), that good Web-based educational theory and good educational theory are one and the same, the only difference being that WBE transcends the barriers of space and time.

The paradigmatic shift has occurred in both global education (including developing countries) and corporate training. The key impetus for this shift may vary in these areas, but the role of knowledge and intellectual capital, coupled with the needs of organizations and individuals to learn more rapidly, are apparent as the driving forces for WBE (e.g., Bell, Martin, & Clarke, 2004). The growth of WBE has been part of planned educational policy, but at the same time, good international or national experiences have also supported its growth. Furthermore, the cash crises in the western university sector (Bell et al., 2004) and the endeavors towards more coherent and cohesive educational systems and degrees, especially in the European context (Littig, 2006), can be identified as the other galvanizing factors for this shift.

Aim and Structure of this Article

The aim of this article is to pursue the discussion of some essential micro- and macro-level issues in Web-based curriculum development, mainly at the level of higher education (see Figure 1). It was fairly often the case initially that the main concerns in curriculum development were related to students, the subject, new technology, and pedagogical issues. Curriculum development, however, must be seen as a process due to these issues, which are constantly evolving. Moreover, curriculum development does not happen in a vacuum—hence the two parts of the article. The first part focuses on the above-mentioned issues, while the second part presents a summary of the general purpose of education, ethics, quality, and management as important contextual concerns in WBE curriculum development.

Figure 1.

Curriculum development as a continuous process

Key Terms in this Chapter

Computer and Information Literacy: The abilities to perform computer operations at a skill level high enough to meet the demands of the society, and to use the tool of automation in the process of accessing, evaluating, and utilizing information ( Carty & Philip, 2001 ).

Web-Based Misinformation: Describes information found on the Internet that does not fit normative patterns of “truth” — that is, it is incomplete, out of date, confused, or offers low consensus “knowledge” (Calvert, 1998 AU14: The in-text citation "Calvert, 1998" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Web-Based Learning Environment: A specially developed program using Internet technology for the design and development of teaching and learning purposes. Trademarks include, for example, WebCT, WebBoard, Top Class, and Virtual-U.

Cultural Differences: Not limited simply to differences in ethnicity or nationality; refers to patterns of thought, attitudes, and behaviors that vary according to the level of sameness shared by distinct groups ( Lum, 2006 ).

Learning Tools: Tools included in Web-based learning environments for managing the course and geared to facilitating student learning in the environment.

Learning Style: The way in which individuals acquire and use information, strategies to process information in learning, and problem-solving situations ( Karuppan, 2001 ).

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