Fundamentals in Program Development

Fundamentals in Program Development

Victor C. X. Wang (Grand Canyon University, USA) and Uta M. Stelson (Wayne State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3132-6.ch002


In recent years, politics have become more and more intertwined with education, often leading to non-academic curriculum control. This is most apparent than in the fields of high school education in subject matters such as science, sex education, and racial studies, but is not limited to these subjects nor limited to the high school level of education. Furthermore, this influence-seeking is not just limited to politics and politicians, but can also be found in the form of money and donors seeking to influence specific curricula or programs. This form of influence-seeking threatens the entire nation's intellectual freedom as it can happen entirely outside of the democratic process. Developing programs requires instructors to take several factors into consideration, and politics should not be one of them. These factors can be viewed as critical components of program development for education instructors. Without adequately addressing critical components such as program history, curriculum theory, curriculum philosophies, curriculum processes, as well as program and curriculum implementation and evaluation, education instructors will fail to develop sound/meaningful programs. This chapter will shed light on relevant information about program and curriculum development on its history, theory, philosophies of development, processes, implementation, and evaluation. The value of such as review is to assist those individuals seeking a teaching credential in education to have confidence to blend program development with their prior occupational knowledge and skills. The chapter will also examine caveats and dangers when social and political constructs are overlaid in comportments.
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Introduction: Where Curriculum May Go Adrift

The Governance of Curriculum

Colleges are no longer able to establish curriculum and the pacing of certain courses due to accreditation bodies such as the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) (Russo & Brittain, 2012). The professoriate does not have the freedom to expand or develop the curriculum as it sees fit, although the members of the professoriate are the knowledge experts (Russo & Brittain, 2012). Course assignments and assessments are also driven by these standards, inhibiting academic and intellectual freedom; public universities are internally and externally monitored in terms of assessments. Curriculum governance at the higher education level has been hampered (Russo & Brittain, 2012). It is unfortunate that curriculum could not be in the hands of the professoriate whose members are the experts and have attained terminal degrees in their area of expertise, curtailing the contribution of faculty intelligentsia by trustees and boards controlling the universities, state governors, state legislatures, and political factions with their own agendas (Russo & Brittain, 2012). This situation is a cause of concern for academic and intellectual freedom. Without academic freedom and information from educational voices, political functionaries are controlling the truth within the curriculum, thus democracy and citizen freedom becomes threatened.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Academic Freedom: The freedom that an educator has to report facts and offer opinions, theories, and hypotheses no matter the type of topic explored.

Curriculum: The learning plan proscribed for the learner.

Robert Gagne: First author of the book titled Principles of Instructional Design.

Ralph Tyler: Considered as the King of curriculum development based on behaviorism.

Informal Learning: Is (1) based on learning from experience; (2) embedded in the organizational context; (3) oriented to a focus on action; (4) governed by non-routine conditions; (5) concerned with tacit dimensions that must be made explicit; (6) delimited by the nature of the task, the way in which problems are framed, and the work capacity of the individual undertaking the task; and (7) enhanced by proactivity, critical reflectivity and creativity ( Watkins & Marsick, 1992 , p. 287).

John Dewey: Popularized “learn by doing” based on progressive philosophy.

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