Co-operative task design and delivery: moving staff and students

09 Feb 2016

This paper is concerned with curriculum renewal in departments at a South African higher education and training institution with a career orientated focus. The driving forces for curriculum change derive, firstly, from government documentation which itself draws on aspects of the need for new knowledge workers in industry described by Gibbons et al in 1994. The features of such workers would be their ability to apply transdisciplinary knowledge in flexible ways to solve problems. Secondly, there is a need to retain students in the system and to help scaffold their learning through providing a workplace focus and fostering learning to learn skills. In an attempt to meet these needs co-operative staff groups were set up to design interdisciplinary, work-related tasks with associated explanatory and guiding criteria. In observingand talking to staff developing these tasks, difficulties were detected in working co-operatively, moving from evaluative to learner-support criteria, integration and allowing for more learner-centred control in assessment.