22 SES 04 A, Paper Session
At present, the educational and curriculum practices are under reconsideration in universities worldwide (e.g. Karseth & Solbregge, 2016; Maassen et al, 2018). Earlier research on curriculum in the context of educational changes in Australia (Millar, 2016; Wheelahan, 2007) and South Africa (Shay, 2013, 2015) created a debate about powerful knowledge. Powerful knowledge refers to conceptual, abstract and esoteric knowledge which is different from contextual, everyday knowledge (Bernstein, 2000; Muller & Young, 2019; Wheelahan, 2007). However, in Finland and in many other countries in Europe, discussion of knowledge in higher education curriculum has been minor (Ursin et al. 2010). This study aims to fill this gap through examining knowledge in curriculum in cases where teachers from different higher education institutions (HEI) collaborate and try to fit different curriculum cultures and educational objectives together.
Originally Gibbons and colleagues (1994) defined the mode 1 and mode 2 knowledge, referring with mode 1 to more traditional forms of knowledge building and research in universities, which is hierarchical and specialized, whereas mode 2 knowledge is associated with industry, innovation and government, emphasizing knowledge development in interdisciplinary collaboration and the applicability and usefulness of knowledge (Yates et al., 2017, 19; Young 2013). All the fields draw on some mix of conceptual knowledge and know-how of various kinds, but some disciplinary fields are more vocational and some more ‘truth-seeking’, as are the higher education institutions too.
The objective of the study is to investigate what happens to knowledge in curriculum in initiatives where curriculum is implemented in collaboration with two different types of HEIs, traditional universities, and universities of applied sciences (UAS). In Finland, there are 14 universities and 24 UAS. Two HEI’s have different legislation and tasks, the first as research intensive and the second as vocationally oriented. HEIs in Finland follow the European three-cycle system with some specific features. In universities, students are admitted pursuing bachelor and master’s degrees as a single entity. BA degree completed in a university is considered mainly to be a stage in the studies for a master’s degree as, traditionally in Finland, there are no labour market for BA from a university. In UAS, the standard degree is vocationally oriented BA degree and it gives a professional qualification. Even though the formal levels of degrees in the dual system follow the European EQF, the curricular differences are often emphasized.
However, recently there have been political interest and encouragement to reconsider the institutional borders. Following this, universities and UAS have started to collaborate, especially with broadening the access to curricula. Even though curriculum is partly shared, the students will graduate from different degree programmes and from different institutions. The present changes have features of the academic drift towards the status of universities, but also the drift - or push - towards vocational, professional and more immediate societal relevance of higher education (Graf, 2016; Kaiserfeld, 2013).
This study focus on two cases where university and UAS created an undergraduate degree with shared curricula for the amount of 80-120 ECTS credits. It is called here as a hybrid curriculum (see also Graf, 2016). This is examined from the perspective of teachers whose affiliation is an institution with a task to produce knowledge. Bernstein (2000) describes, that the field of production (where the new knowledge is created) is the first phase in pedagogic device. Two following are, the field on recontextualization where knowledge is transformed into the curriculum, and the field of reproduction where the knowledge is taught to students. This paper focus on the recontextualization phase, asking: What is the nature of knowledge in hybrid curricula? What is the role of university teachers in deciding on knowledge in hybrid curricula?
To find suitable cases to study, a request was sent to a mailing list of universities head of studies in Finland, asking if any fields of science in their university had curriculum collaboration with UAS. Six out of 14 universities informed to have this type of collaboration, in smaller or bigger scale, and in different disciplinary fields. From these, two cases that had biggest amount of study credits in their shared curricula for undergraduate degree were contacted. One case represent humanities, arts and social sciences (HASS) and the other case science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The cases come from two cities in Finland, from two universities and two UAS. Narrative interviews (see Squire, 2013) were conducted for 14 teachers from the STEM case and 12 teachers for the HASS case. Half of the informants represent universities and half of them came from UASs. The aim was to listen to the individual and collective stories of designing curriculum and making decisions on knowledge during the different phases of the recontextualization process. The interviews were recorded, and data transcribed, resulting in 287 pages data to analyse (Times New Roman, 12,1). The conceptual tools for analyzing the data stems from Bernstein’s (1975) concepts of classification and framing. With classification, Bernstein refers to the relationships and the nature of the differentiation between the contents, having either sharp or blurred boundaries (p. 88). The frames refer to the form of the context where curriculum is delivered, and the relationships between the teacher and the content: the degree of control the actors have over the selection, organization, pacing and timing of the knowledge in curriculum and in the pedagogical relationship. Besides, Legitimation Code Theory (LCT) is used as an explanatory framework (Maton, Hood & Shay, 2016). It aims to bring theory and data into genuine dialogue in knowledge-building. As a conceptual toolkit and analytic methodology, it enables to get ‘under the surface’ appearances and to reveal similarities and differences in a set of practices. By looking at a range of possible modalities, it may reach not only, ‘what is’, but also ‘what could be’. Doing so, it aims to avoid false dichotomies, for example, between theoretical and practical, vocational and higher education, but instead, to explore the relative nature of different modalities identified in empirical data. The analysis is about to start, and the results will be available by the conference.
The data is very rich and show how knowledge is understood in various ways, and how the teacher’s see their role in deciding on knowledge. Disciplinary differences in STEM and HASS cases are striking. At this stage, much cannot be said yet as the analysis is in a very early phase. However, the results that will be presented in September, will speak from the local to global, and is of European relevance, as they reflect the consequences of Bologna process not only as degree structures, but as interpretations of knowledge in undergraduate NQF level in different types of HEIs. This presentation also fits the topic of the conference, reflecting how the political and societal guidance is visible and change the nature of higher education and teacher’s work practices.
Bernstein, B. (1975). Class, codes and control. Volume 3. Towards the theory of educational transmissions. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd. Bernstein, B. (2000). Pedagogy, symbolic control and identity. Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield. Gibbons, M., Limoges, C., Nowotny, H., Schwartzman, S., Scott, P. & Trow, M. (1994). The new production of knowledge: the dynamics of science and research in contemporary societies. London: Sage. Graf, L. (2016). The rise of work-based academic education in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 68(1), 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1080/13636820.2015.1107749 Kaiserfeld, T. (2013). Why New Hybrid Organizations are Formed: Historical Perspectives on Epistemic and Academic Drift. Minerva, 51(2), 171-194. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11024-013-9226-x Karseth, B. & Solbregge,T.D. (2016). Curriculum Trends in European Higher Education: The Pursuit of the Humboldtian University Ideas. In S. Slaughter, B.J. Taylor (eds.), Higher Education, Stratiﬁcation, and Workforce Development, Higher Education Dynamics 45,215-233. DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-21512-9_11 Maassen, P., Nerland, M. and Yates, L. (Eds) (2018). Reconfiguring Knowledge in Higher Education. Singapore: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-72832-2 Maton, K., Hood, S. & Shay, S. (2016). Knowledge building. Educational studies in Legitimation Code Theory. London: Routledge. Millar, V. (2016). Interdisciplinary curriculum reform in the changing university. Teaching in Higher Education, 21(4), 471-483. DOI: 10.1080/13562517.2016.1155549 Muller, J. & Young, M. (2019). Knowledge, power and powerful knowledge revisited. The Curriculum Journal, 30(2), 196-214. DOI: 10.1080/09585176.2019.1570292 Shay, S. (2015). Curriculum reform in higher education: a contested space. Teaching in Higher Education, 20(4), 431–441. Shay, S. (2013). Conceptualizing curriculum differentiation in higher education: a sociology of knowledge point of view. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 34(4), 563–582. Squire, C. (2013). From experience-centred to socio-culturally-oriented approaches to narrative. Teoksessa M. Andrews, C. Squire, & M. Tamboukou (toim.) Doing narrative research. 2. painos. Lontoo: SAGE, 47-70. https://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781526402271.n3 Ursin, J., Aittola, H., Henderson, C. & Välimaa, J. (2010). Is Education getting lost in University Mergers? Tertiary Education and Management, 16 (4), 327—340. DOI: 10.1080/13583883.2010.533379 Wheelahan, L. (2007). How competency‐based training locks the working class out of powerful knowledge: a modified Bernsteinian analysis. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 28(5), 637-651. DOI:10.1080/01425690701505540 Yates, L., Woelert, P., Millar, V. & O’Connor, K. (2017). Knowledge at the Crossroads. Physics and History in the Changes World of Schools and Universities. Singapore: Springer. Young, M. (2013). Overcoming the crisis in curriculum theory: A knowledge-based approach. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 45, 101–118.
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