Yesterday Natalie, Sabine and I went to Leeds to a conference on involving students in curriculum design and development. We ran a workshop on the SAN and talked about all the ways in which we and other students get involved in curriculums in our departments. We had really great feedback from this session, with several people saying they were inspired to set up a network like we have in their own institutions.
Natalie and I then sat on a student panel at the end of the day with three other students from Leeds Met university. We explained our roles in curriculum design and development and then each worked with a group to look at issues surrounding such student involvement.
I got a few things in particular from this conference. Firstly our presence seemed to stress how important it may be to actually pay students involved in curriculum development as we are a lot more devoted to our role than many course reps may be. I again realised how lucky we are to be involved in CILASS and the SAN, for undergraduates do not usually get such an opportunity to get so involved in conferences. I also reaffirmed my belief that it is important to get students and staff in a two-way dialogue over curriculum issues so that students can appreciate how some of our ideas may not be realistic and our feedback will therefore be improved and more useful, as we can adapt our ideas to the real situation. Lastly, as Janine was saying in the last SAN meeting, again and again is brought up how to reach students beyond just those who are really keen to engage in curriculum debate. This appears to be an ongoing question..
I think the most interesting point however, is that Nat and I were pretty much the only non-sabbatical ‘students’ attending until the panel at the end. The current debate seems to be that students should be involved in curriculum design and development.. But shouldn’t they then also be involved in the debate around how to involve students in curriculum design and development?