Assembling a language and literacy course for first year teacher education students

Year: 2013

Author: Kehrwald, Ben, Carter, Jenni, McCallum, Faye

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

 The development of a new, flexibly delivered course involves arranging a complex set of conditions and forces.  External and internal accreditation requirements dictate essential content and compliance with intuitional practices. The affordances of the institutional technology infrastructure create both possibilities and limitations as to the potential of the course design and delivery. The disciplinary knowledges of the course are informed by research and the curriculum demands of different educational settings. These conditions and forces produce both consistencies and dissonances that must be worked through in order to produce a course that can meet the demands of the discipline, students, the university and external institutional demands. 
This paper is concerned with tracing the human and material relations involved in assembling a first year teacher education language and literacy course.  The paper is presented from three perspectives: a course coordinator, as subject matter expert; an academic developer, as technology and pedagogy expert; and an associate head of school with oversight on the academic portfolio, as an advocate of both change processes and quality assurance in academic programs.  The presentation focuses on the complexities of reconciling these three viewpoints.
The analysis begins with an overview of what is required from each point of view and the outcomes achieved.  This is followed by an exploration of  the dynamics of course design and development and the ways in which different forces and tensions play out within the demands of developing a course that is in some ways a stable entity.  This analysis centres on an examination of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the limiting conditions and forces that give shape to design conditions in the course. This analysis supports a ‘mapping' process which explicates the diverse points of view including a) the key administrative and procedural considerations associated with higher education provision in Australia; b) the valued aspects of the subject area as mediated by the teaching academic staff; c) attention to robust pedagogical modelling and the student experience, particularly for flexible blended and online learning; and d) contextual factors, including several practical considerations which affect the final version of the course.  Key aspects of the final version of the course are presented along with testimony from the course coordinator, academic developer and academic leadership as to the overall ‘fit' of the final course with each of their views of ‘quality'.