Creatively exploring metaphors to define curriculum aims with the Design Foundation staff

2018 marked the first year that the newly consolidated Design Foundation was implemented at CPUT. The academics and staff teaching on this programme decided to step back and attempt to critically reflect on the implementation experiences for the year. This review process was structured around three particular elements of their curriculum and teaching experiences namely; 1) individual subjects, 2) the overarching curriculum and finally, 3) the organisational structures that supported the functioning of the programme in all its elements.

In a workshop session on 13 November the staff teaching on the Design Foundation, worked alongside Lynn Coleman from the ECP Unit to explore and workshop the overarching curriculum aims for the Design Foundation year. This was part of Stage Two of the three-part curriculum review process. We were joined for some of this discussions by the HoD of Design, Monica di Ruvo.

The main aim of the session was to start a conversation about developing a curriculum aim statement for the programme and then look at how such an aim statement might inform the development of supporting learning outcomes. Staff were also introduced to Bloom’s Domains of Learning as particular curriculum analysis tool that could be used to develop and design both a curriculum aim statement and learning outcomes. This tool was enlisted to help account for and then represent how the aim statement attended to the cognitive (or knowing), values (or self and being) and psychomotor ( or skills and doing) domains of learning.

Some of the most generative aspects of the session were lecturers attempts to use different metaphors to capture the role and function of the curriculum. Lecturers put forward a number of metaphors like boat, anchor, umbrella, bowl, wheel and compass and offered motivations for why a particular metaphor was useful. Lecturers also crafted some interesting illustrations to express their views of the curriculum schema for the Design Foundation incorporating the three domains of learning. The activities and outcomes of the day are a necessary first steps as staff will need to work to refine and then formalise their curriculum aim statement and its supporting specific learning outcomes.

Staff will continue their general review process on 4 December, when they review and reflect on Stage Three – the organisational structures supporting the programme.


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