Analysing curriculum development as an activity system : A study based in English universities

Burke, Anthony and Tight, Malcolm (2021) Analysing curriculum development as an activity system : A study based in English universities. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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This study is concerned with the curriculum development process at English universities. The underlying premise for the study is that the challenges of curriculum development can only be fully understood by viewing the process holistically. An extensive literature review identifies the key influences on curriculum development and the sources that guide course design. The review shows that curriculum development is a highly complex process involving multiple parties. Much of the literature in this field focuses either on conceptualisations of the curriculum or on the mechanics of the curriculum process. A theoretical framework based on cultural-historical activity theory is presented as a means of locating curriculum development in its broader social context. Interviews were conducted at twelve English universities and the data was analysed by framing curriculum development as an activity system. The analysis identifies inherent structural tensions in the system and considers the implications of those tensions. The study concludes that activity system analysis provides a valuable tool in analysing curriculum development holistically. The findings suggest that universities need to foster a deeper understanding of curriculum development and to take a more strategic approach to integrating the contributions of the parties involved.

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Thesis (PhD)
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19 Apr 2021 08:45
Last Modified:
03 Jun 2024 23:33