The Narrative Arch as Curriculum Design Tool

Course Planning Revisited

So I am tentatively starting the blog posts again. Let’s begin with a bit of reflection:

A year on from my initial post we have successfully applied the narrative arch (or Story Spine) to our course design. The only note of caution I would make is to be careful with just how much un-ballance you create at the beginning of the course. We just had a feedback round with our participants–now that the course assessment is over–and one of the points made was that we should introduce the whole theoretical framework from the onset instead of exploring it step by step. So this was definitely a bit too much friction.

This course aims to engage you in a wide and diversified debate of learning and teaching theories, with the emphasis on translating active pedagogies into your learning and teaching practice. You will critically reflect on these pedagogies and their applicability in your discipline, initiating the development of a portfolio of active pedagogies.  

Part of our course description

We definitely achieved this and the participants stated that the link between theory and practice was strong. They also fed back that the course overall had a significant impact on their own academic practice from changed assessment and curriculum designs, to sharing ideas across their own faculties or institutions.

So bottom line: our story made sense.

Using the narrative arch as guidance to develop the curriculum worked. I will be exploring the topic of story telling in creative and active pedagogies further. I am still on a quest to widen the view of active learning as not just PBL and team based learning, and translate creative learning and teaching strategies into Higher Education.

There is of course more to this course than the narrative arch but this is for later reflections.

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