An (Over?) Simplified Explanation of The Curricular Approach/Residential Curriculum Process

The Process of a Curricular Approach

As a facilitator of residential curriculum and curricular approach workshops, one of the challenges I have is how to explain the process in a way that makes sense to attendees. One of the reasons this is challenging, is that curricular approaches introduce a number of new terms and use those terms in very specific ways. Participants can also struggle with how all the pieces and steps in the curriculum creation process inter-relate.

Although there are many ways to explain a curricular approach, I’ve recently had success with the following:

  • We do a dig to come to a common understanding of our institution, our students, and our work. It forms the basis of our curriculum.
  • We write an educational priority, to define the ultimate objective of our curriculum.
  • We break the educational priority down into learning goal statements to define what students need to learn to achieve the educational priority.
  • Learning goal statements have narratives which provide context for why the goal was chosen, what is meant by the words we chose, and what theoretical frameworks we may have used.
  • We further break down the learning goals into learning outcomes to be more specific about what students need to learn in order to achieve the learning goal.
  • Rubrics accompany each learning outcome to help us understand the stages a student will go through in reaching that learning outcome.
  • We then use the rubrics to sequence our curriculum. Looking at a calendar we build in progressive strategies, events, and initiatives so that we construct a journey for our students to ultimately reach our outcomes, goals, and educational priority.
  • For each strategy, event, and initiative, we develop facilitation guides which outline which of our curriculum’s learning outcomes will be addressed and how those activities will be carried out.
  • Facilitation Guides include strategy-level outcomes and strategy-level assessment that allows us to revise and improve the facilitation guides year-over-year.
  • Overall assessment of the curriculum informs our review process, an on-going process where we make iterative changes to our educational priority, goals, narratives, outcomes, and rubrics to improve them over time and respond to changes in our student population and at our institution.

The 2020 Brown family holiday picture… and every one since 1968

Happy Holidays!

It has been the Brown family tradition for 54 years to document each year’s passage with an annual holiday photo.  Beginning in 1968, the year my parents got married, and continuing through the present day, you can watch as we’ve changed, made (bad) hair and fashion choices, and grown to include a fifth member.  Below you will find our journey beginning with a picture of the house we grew up in (and my parents still live in to the present day).

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NEW FREE Fourth Edition of the “Developing a Co-Curricular Learning Model” Book on Residential Curriculum and Curricular Approaches:

Residential Curriculum and Curricular Approaches Book

I’m excited to release the new fourth edition of my eBook on residential curriculum and curricular approaches, sponsored by Roompact. The content is expanded from the third edition and now includes more visuals and worksheets. It is also now designed in an 8.5 x 11 format. This should make it easier to print, if you wish!

As before, it remains freely available for you to download and use. Whether you’re new to curricular approaches or still learning and implementing, this ebook has something for you. Thank you to the many learning partners I’ve had oaths journey. Please enjoy! Read More

Curricular Approach Q&A: Where Can I Find Peer Institutions To Collaborate With And Benchmark?

Whether you’re just starting your journey towards a curricular approach or whether you’re looking to improve your current practice, connecting with peer institutions for idea generation, collaboration, and benchmarking can be incredible useful and there are a number of different avenues available to you. Read More

Now Open for 2020! Why You Should Consider Applying to be an ICA Showcase School

One of the key features of ACPA’s Institute on the Curricular Approach (formerly the Residential Curriculum Institute) is the “Showcase” sessions. Showcases are presentations from individual schools that have adopted the curricular approach. Functioning similar to case studies, these showcases dive into one institution’s work with the model and the challenges and successes they’ve had along the way. Sometimes these showcases can be about an institution or department’s entire journey and sometimes they focus in on one or two aspects of it. Read More