The University of New South Wales’ (UNSW’s) Faculty of Engineering is introducing a new process for designing and developing blended and fully online (distance) courses, as part of action research to support curriculum renewal. The process, referred to as CREWED (Curriculum Renewal and E-learning Workloads: Embedding in Disciplines), is being used to develop key courses that add flexibility to student progression pathways. By integrating the design of learning activities with the planning and organization of teaching and support work, CREWED addresses some of the known barriers to embedding innovative use of learning technologies within disciplines. CREWED incorporates key features of two course development models from the UK, one emphasising team building and the other emphasising pedagogical planning. It has been piloted in priority curriculum development projects, to ensure that the disciplinary organizational context is supportive. One pilot is a fully online distance version of a postgraduate course. The other is a blended version of an undergraduate course. Both are core (required) courses in accredited professional engineering degree programs and were previously available only in face-to-face mode. The UNSW pilots have confirmed the importance of articulating clear pedagogical models, and of planning ahead for the resources required to put these models into practice, as part of departmental capacity building, especially where teaching has primarily been treated as an individual classroom-based activity that competes with disciplinary research for academic staff time and resources
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