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Ihar Irkho, Ph.D. in Information Systems LINKING CURRICULUM WITH RAPIDLY-CHANGING INDUSTRIES

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Advanced Computing Institute, Michigan, the United States of America

Аннотация

Статья посвящена особенностям разработки учебных планов в современных условия. Если раньше учебные планы составлялись с учетом имеющегося учебно-методического обеспечения (учебников, пособий), то сегодня возникает проблема «неограниченности информации», предоставляемой Интернетом. Как решать проблему обучения в этой ситуации, и рассмотрено в данной статье.

Today's teachers deal with educational challenges that were unimaginable just few years ago. In rapidly-changing industries such as tablet applications and big data management, colleges literally cannot follow the traditional path of curriculum development from drafting to the accreditation body's approval. In this new educational environment, linking curriculum with experiences of rapidly-changing industries may become new curriculum objectives.

Traditional curricula is a set of courses that are designed to provide learners with knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform. The first textbook on the subject was John Franklin Bobbitt's "The Curriculum" published in 1918. According to Bobbitt (27), the curriculum is a social engineering tool that features two notable characteristics:

a)    Scientific experts would best be qualified to design curricula because of their expert knowledge of what qualities are desirable in professionals

b)    Curriculum defined as the deeds-experiences the learners ought to have to become the professionals they ought to become

Today, diplomas alone are not students' goals any longer (Lubner and Irkho). Students need careers, life successes and even fun. New academic curricula must accommodate this change, shifting from the traditional curriculum development to a responsive development process that accommodates the industry needs.

Throughout centuries, professors have been scholarly teachers since, literally, the Latin word, professor, constitutes a "person who professes." In traditional education, a curriculum is the set of courses, referring to sequences of learning experiences through which learners grow to become professionals. Thus, scholarly-designed curricula have followed that concept since educational programs have been clarified what, in what environment, in what sequence, and with what instruments must be taught.

The rapidly changing industries are alternating that model since meaning of "what to teach" and all of its dependents often changes within the traditional curriculum development process, which often starts with idea generations and ends with bureaucratic approvals of accreditation bodies.

Competencies to be obtained through the curriculum may be divided into three categories: conceptual, human and technical skills (Robbins, 7). Conceptual skills refer to the ability to manage professional tasks. Technical skills refer to the ability to use technology. Human skills refer to the ability to communicate with other people.

Moreover, new technologies affect industry requirements not only for technical skills, but human and conceptual skills as well since technology contributes to complexity of both professional tasks and human relationships. The basic curriculum questions, which are what to teach, in what environment, in what sequence, and with what instruments, must be redefined because of this new aspect. Linking curriculum with rapidly-changing industries might be the best answer to those new challenges. The industry deals with decision-making in the environment of information overload. The academia must teach learners to deal with similar problems.

Curriculum content

Evidently, humanity has never dealt with such enormous amount of information. According to the YouTube statistics, "48 hours of video are uploaded every minute, resulting in nearly 8 years of content uploaded every day." And this amount of data is currently being added by YouTube alone (YouTube).

According to Prensky (2008, p. 8), "Today's students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach." It is easy to predict that the disparity between the old-style education and digital-age student needs will increase since the information overload grows drastically.

In other words, students are likely less and less to hire colleges to get information accessible through Wikipedia in seconds. Enabling students to deal with information available must be the curriculum goal. Nevertheless, on the contrary, many schools today still act as if the delivery of information is their objective. This is a crucial point.

Decision-making implied in curriculum

Going one step further, we may assume that the value of memorization as assessed by quizzes and tests may decrease, while the value of activities in which students must make decisions on a basis of information analysis and synthesis may increase all along with the future raise of the information overload.

There is also a question of how much knowledge must be committed to memory in order to allow for high-level decision making. For example, experts are able to make correct decisions more rapidly than novices, in part because of their extensive knowledge stores, which allows them to rapidly perceive the most relevant cues. Novices are usually able to reach the same decision point as experts, but must take more time to sort through incoming information (Lubner and Hwoschinsky, 1997).

Academically, there are two ways to engage students better when they are ready to learn. Firstly, giving them opportunities to learn by doing (Collins, Brown and Newman) Secondly, by offering students the opportunity for inquiry-based learning instead of passive memorizing.

For instance, Christensen, Johnson and Michael Horn (2008) propose "reverse instruction," in which students get information outside their classroom before classes begin. For generations and generations, textbooks were the only source of information. Today's students deal with unbelievably-gigantic data and they need to be able to make sense of it.

Works cited

  1. Bobbitt, J. F., The curriculum, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1918, 295 pages
  2. Christensen, Clayton, Curtis W. Johnson, Michael B. Horn (2008) "Disrupting Class, Expanded Edition: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns", Second (2nd) Edition, McGraw Hill
  3. Collins, A., Brown, J. S., & Newman, S. E. (1989). Cognitive apprenticeship: Teaching the crafts of reading, writing, and mathematics. In L. B. Resnick (Ed.) Knowing, learning, and instruction: Essays in honor of Robert Glaser, Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  4. Lubner, M. and Hwoschinsky, P. (1997), "A proposed measure of expert aeronautical decision making for a training program", Ninth International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, Columbus, Ohio.
  5. Lubner, M. and Irkho, I., Personalized Academia: Designing Computer-Based Curriculum to Boost Learners' Motivation, New Educational Technologies in Higher Education Institution: Proceedings of the Nineth International Scientific-Methodological Conference, Yekaterinburg, Russian Federation, 2012
  6. Prensky, M., (2007) "Listen to the natives", Educational Leadership, 63(4), pp. 8-13.
  7. Robbins, Stephen, Timothy Judge (2011), "Organizational Behavior," 14th edition, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall
  8. YouTube Press Statistics (accessed at 14:45 PM on January 19, 2012) http://www.youtube.com/t/press_statistics
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