DEHub/Research Portfolio/University of New England (UNE)/Cherry Stewart: Community and Open Learning Meso

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Curriculum design. What design methodologies are effective and efficient for the design, development, implementation and evaluation of effective teaching and learning for social media-enabled environments in the Australia higher education sector? ($7,000)

Project Lead

Nicole Green, Margaret Brooks and Brenda Wolodko

Project Team

Nicole Green, Margaret Brooks and Brenda Wolodko

Scope and Overview


In 2009 the Early Childhood Education (ECE) team in the School of Education undertook a complete revision of the 16 units across the BTeach and BEd Early Childhood degrees. Our focus was the migration of our teaching materials from paper-based correspondence papers to online teaching and learning. This migration process involved a progressive redesign of our courses that was informed by a strong, socio-cultural theoretical framework. We were forced to rethink content, assessment and learning tasks and activities. Our inquiry became an integral part of our own professional practice as teacher educators and evoked “deeper understandings of the aims, methods, and outcomes of [our] work with beginning teachers” (Dinkelman, 2003, p. 8). In 2010 we have a commitment to continue this process and further refine our understandings and development of curriculum and online pedagogy.

The ECE team will undertake a literature review, narrative syntheses, meta-analyses, meta-evaluations, and best evidence syntheses of online curriculum design that are currently used in higher education.

Our aim is to enquire into the broader challenges of enacting an online pedagogy of teacher education to contribute to the conversation within teacher education, ECE and distance education discourse communities of our own and other higher education institutions. Specifically, the team will inquire into the methodologies and data collection activities that support curriculum research and evaluation of online teacher education pedagogy, and teacher educator professional identity.

Evidence suggests that current difficulties experienced in many teacher education programs are the direct result of teaching programs that remain insular and unconnected (Hoban, 2005; Standing Committee on Education and Vocational Training, 2007). Our research will address this concern, with a particular focus on online/eLearning curriculum design, implementation and assessment.

Theorising and research design are integral aspects of scholarly practice. A deeper engagement with the literature is required to inform and extend systematic curriculum inquiry in distance education, as well as to guide future funded research applications.

The literature review will inform the continued development and articulation of the pedagogical aspects of higher degree programs, with particular examination of theoretical and professional experience links, practical connectivity, and conceptual consistencies across degree programs – informed by a set of guiding principles.