This chapter provides insight into considerations that must precede a decision to undertake curriculum development, either from the perspective of designing a new curriculum or of revising an existing one. Although a revision or a completely new curriculum may seem the obvious choice for rectifying some aspect of a program, it is worthwhile to carefully consider faculty willingness to undertake this endeavor. Reflection about the reasons for curriculum change, who will be involved, the time frame, and how to gain support for the idea are addressed. A chapter summary follows. Synthesis activities include two cases: the first is followed by a critique, and the second provides an opportunity to analyze readiness for curriculum revision or development. Questions to guide thinking about preliminary considerations for curriculum development conclude the chapter. These questions are designed to help the reader decide if circumstances are right to begin the formal process of curriculum development in individual settings.
Consider factors and influences that precipitate curriculum development or revision
- Identify participants in the curriculum development process
- Assess acceptance of and readiness for curriculum development or revision
- Justify the decision to proceed with or suspend the curriculum development process
Considerations for Curriculum Development
Why Consider Curriculum Change?
The purpose of nursing programs is to graduate cna classes online who will contribute to the health and quality of life of individuals and the community they serve. Situations that impede the ability of the school of nursing to achieve this purpose, and consequently threaten its stability, success, or reputation, precipitate thoughts of curriculum change. Among such circumstances could be alterations in:
- Success rates on licensure or registration examinations
- Accreditation or approval standards
- Institutional, professional, and/or governmental regulations
- New graduates’ ability to meet employers’ expectations
- Resources available in the school of nursing
- Faculty numbers or expertise
- Educational technologies
- Competition from other schools
- Organization of nursing education, state- or province-wide
- Nursing workforce
- Provision of health care
- Nursing and educational paradigms
Trends, demographics, local and national circumstances, economics, technologies, professional priorities, changing values and beliefs about teaching and learning, nursing, and cna training online education, are all interrelated conditions to which nursing curricula must respond (Bevis, 2000a; Bowen, Lyons, & Young, 2000; Conley, 1973). As well, the desire for curricula¬
Possibilities consistent with the evolving health care system. A curriculum is a living, dynamic entity, so change is inevitable.
How and Where Witt Support Be Gained?
Faculty desiring curriculum change should seek support from every source imaginable: learners, faculty, clinical colleagues, health care clients, and administrators. The support of representatives from each group strengthens the case for proceeding with curriculum development work. However, at this early stage, initial support is needed from faculty colleagues and the dean or director of the school of nursing so that the intensive work can be formally started. It also is helpful to identify possible funding sources for curriculum development, such as internal university funds or foundations known to support innovation in nursing education.
It is essential to clearly articulate why curriculum development is necessary. For example, it is important to present factual data about how deficiencies in the current curriculum are evident (e.g., failure rate on licensing exams). Similarly, the changing trends that led to the conclusion that the curriculum is outdated should be addressed.
Gaining support for curriculum development involves an appeal to logic and values. Neither one alone is sufficient. The precise approach will, of course, be dependent on the organization and the people involved. The educational institution might pride itself on being innovative, responsive to diversity, and a leader in education. If so, linking the concept of curriculum change with these prized values will help “sell” the idea. In Table 2.1, suggestions are offered which will be helpful in convincing others that curriculum development is needed.
It is important to consider the best way to seek support. Should colleagues be approached individually or collectively? Clearly, there are advantages and drawbacks to both (See Table 2.2 for an analysis of approaching colleagues individually or collectively). A combination may be appropriate, first talking with colleagues individually to gain the acceptance of informal leaders, and then presenting ideas to a larger group. The decision will be influenced by knowledge of the interpersonal dynamics among colleagues and by the credibility of those seeking support for curriculum change.
The support of the dean or director is necessary before curriculum work can proceed, no matter how much endorsement exists among faculty. Matters to address with the school leader are included in Table 2.3. It is unlikely that precise information about each point will be available. However, recognition of both the academic and administrative aspects of curriculum development will increase credibility with the head of the nursing program.
How Can Initial Objections Be Addressed?
Overcoming Objections Initial resistance is an expected reaction to the possibility of change. Overcoming initial objections to the idea of curriculum development is an important.