Student-led curriculum design

Dr Paul Fleet, Deputy Head of School and Senior Lecturer

School of Arts and Cultures

Humanities and Social Sciences

What did you do?

In the Stage 1 module Music Theory: Textures and Techniques (led by Dr Paul Fleet) students from across the four degree programme pathways (Classical, Contemporary & Popular, Folk & Traditional and Year Abroad) came together to explore the techniques and textures involved in the creation of musical materials.

The module is run across the academic year and as such the first semester involves exploring the historical and cultural framework where certain musical practices emerged. The second semester was inspired to follow the QAA Quality Code statement regarding the students having ‘the opportunity to contribute to their learning experience’ and asked the student to set their own collective learning agenda.

Who is involved?

Stage 1 Music students, Dr Paul Fleet and Dr Mick Wright. Each student who is enrolled on the module for the academic year was invited to participate in the process and the data was collected and presented back to the student through the module leader.

How do you do it?

In the first session of the second semester the students were placed into small learning groups and asked to share their thoughts on their learning and teaching in the first semester. Each group had a member of the delivery team in the group to listen to their discussions and provide context where needed. Whilst this reflective discussion was happening,  students were asked to write down their ideas about musical materials, styles, genres and skills that they would like to consider in the following semester. Post-it notes were used to keep the ideas concise and the students were instructed to post their notes on an ‘ideas table’ at any point in the discussion to preserve a degree of anonymity to the idea and promote quick capture.

Before the close of the session the students were then invited to theme the notes on the table (see image) and construct their own curriculum and modes of delivery. All of these ideas were then considered by the delivery team keeping in mind practicability, most requested, most interesting, and where possible capture the best spread of ideas. The following session with the students then began the delivery of their curriculum.

Why do you do it?

In recent years we have noted that students have a greater understanding of ownership and investment in their degree programme and in a department that houses specialists in many forms of musics there is the opportunity to enable students to study what they believe would be collectively beneficial to them. This works as a guiding rather than controlling practice to delivery in Higher Education.

Does it work?

This is the first year that this has run and anecdotal evidence both at the time and in the subsequent weeks is positive. There is also a marked increase in student engagement and discussion during the lecture and seminar sessions.

Contact details

Paul Fleet

Dr Paul Fleet, Deputy Head of School and Senior Lecturer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *