Co-creating curriculum on a shoestring with student, industry partner and staff engagement

Jennifer Ruskin, Rebecca Bilous

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstractpeer-review


Despite increasing awareness of the value students and community partners bring to curriculum co-creation, university curriculum is often developed by academic staff working in isolation (Bovill, 2013). One factor that limits participation in co-creation activities is the perceived or actual need for extensive resources (Gazley, Bennett, & Littlepage, 2013). This project explores the extent to which it is possible to co-create curriculum with limited resources. The focal case is a work-integrated learning unit in international business. The curriculum re-design enables students to complete the unit in coordination with local placements in international businesses or while completing internships overseas. Flexibility is required to offer the unit face-to-face, fully online or in blended learning mode, depending on the nature and timing of the work placement. With plans for industry engagement and diverse teaching modes, co-creation is critical to meet student, partner and staff expectations. Resources to redesign the unit, however, include only staff time and a small budget for workshop catering.The project employed a cycle of inquiry involving data collection, analysis, reflection, revision of tools and further data collection (Wadsworth, 2012). Participants included four students, one industry partner and three academic staff members. The primary sources of data were two video-recorded workshops and flipchart notes from facilitated activities. The raw video footage and flipcharts were used to develop the unit guide and assessment tasks. Selected video clips, in which participants discussed examples from their experience, were integrated in the unit’s website.The overarching project finding is that it is possible to facilitate meaningful curriculum co-creation with limited resources. Evidence for this finding includes the presence of the curriculum and a unit that students find engaging, based on feedback following pilot delivery in 2016. There are several related qualifying findings that suggest limits on the potential to co-create a unit successfully without a large infusion of resources. First, it is important to be selective in planning aspects of the unit that will be co-created. Second, the availability of a range of learning and teaching support resources is a key ingredient for success. Third, a clear value proposition for each type of participant is necessary to engage participants in the process. If these limitations are overcome, co-created curriculum, particularly for experiential learning units, can play an important role in ensuring that university graduates have the skills, abilities and experience to make valuable contributions in the workplace.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHigher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Inc. Curriculum Transformation
Subtitle of host publicationabstract book
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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