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The majority of discussion concerning curriculum development inevitably
focuses on the requirements which must be adhered to in order to achieve
constructive alignment within programmes and the learning experiences of
students, and appropriate reference to the various national requirements,
benchmarks and quality assurance frameworks. Whilst this is a fundamental
starting point, curriculum design is essentially concerned with:

  what is to be learnt - content
  why it is to be learnt - rationale and underlying philosophy
  how it is to be learnt - process
  when it is to be learnt - structure of the learning process
  and includes consideration of how the learning will be demonstrated and
achievement assessed (the Imaginative Curriculum Project)

And curriculum design is also a creative process, requiring the skill,
knowledge and imagination of the originator, the teacher, in order to
effectively foster and promote student learning, and in turn to enhance the
capacity of students to learn and think creatively.

In order to design a curriculum which nurtures creativity, teaching teams need
to jointly develop a shared understanding of creativity in the context of their
provision, map the opportunities for creativity within the curriculum, and
together work towards developing student skills to enable them to become
truly independent learners, for example through: introducing novel tasks within
modules, developing students’ knowledge about creative learning processes,
and being open to innovation and change.

Fundamental also is the need to use assessment methods which enable
recognition of the process of the learning which has taken place and that
encourage students to demonstrate their creativity, such as through the use of
synoptic or reflective portfolio assignments.

Suggestions on how space may be created within the curriculum for creativity
and extensive resources which examine and provide examples of
incorporating creativity within the curriculum are available from the Higher
Education Academy Imaginative Curriculum Project website.

An excellent source which introduces the concept of creativity in the
curriculum is the Designing for Creativity: A Curriculum Guide by Norman
Jackson (IC013).

An idea of the areas which might be considered when reviewing the inclusion
of creativity within programmes and how this might be done are summarised
in the following table.

Creating space for creativity in the curriculum questions and
suggestions from Tait (2002)
1.   Creative edges of curriculum
If we consider the institutional regulations   E.g., to meet the key skill requirement:
and procedures, QAA subject benchmarks         "Improving own learning and performance"
and perhaps Professional Body                  students may be encouraged to develop
requirements, where are there affordances      reflective and connected thinking - a process-
and opportunities that encourage open-         focus can encourage creative approaches
ended approaches to learning?                  Join a project e.g., to develop the use of new
Where is there support for innovation in my    media or in support of widening participation
own institution?                               agendas
Large-scale curriculum reform may be           Looking across a whole programme, there will
underway but this takes time and               probably be duplication of assessed outcomes
commitment. Where are the gaps for             and procedures: in one module or unit, we
tinkering with curriculum and experimenting    might substitute one pilot assessment that
with creativity in small ways?                 encourages uncertain or unspecified outcomes.
2.   Creative spaces for our own development
Beyond the immediate time pressures and        Participate in a recognised course, programme
compliance requirements, how can we            or workshop about learning and teaching
create time and space in our workloads to      Talk and think with colleagues informally -
allow us to think creatively?                  across disciplines and institutions (e.g., ILT and
Where do we reflect on and learn from          LTS networks) and use other CPD
experiments that work / don’t work?            opportunities
Where are there colleagues we can trust        Practice re-framing and work-around strategies
with our ‘unfinished’ ideas and share our      – dare to think differently
‘mistakes’?                                    Appreciate where we are already being
How do we already work creatively around       creative in adapting and responding to
or with problems?                              situations (bricolage)
3.   Space for learners
How can we transfer ideas about                Creativity is a social process – develop
what supports our own creativity to            trust through low-stakes collaborative
the curriculum environment we                  work
create for students?                           We learn from ‘mistakes’ (our own and
Students are driven by assessment – how        other peoples) – assess process and
can we use this to encourage creativity?       participation, not always ‘success’
How can we manage our relationships with       (e.g., learning logs, online conferences)
students so that we know they learn what
we teach?                                      Encourage students to negotiate how
                                               they demonstrate their achievements
                                               as outcomes, to serve their purposes,
                                               as well as ours.
                                               Trust our students to learn in and from the
                                               curriculum we have designed – keep reflecting
                                               with them.

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