From Teaching as Transmission to Constructive Alignment: A Case Study of Learning Design
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonNordic Journal of STEM Education. 2021, 4 (2), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.5324/njsteme.v4i1.3402
This paper reports on an action research study on curriculum design in an optional module at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. There were two professors teaching their respective parts, henceforth termed “Part 1” and “Part 2”. Oral evaluations confirmed students’ satisfaction with teaching; however, failure rates had been an issue for years and was a concern to the professors who were wondering why. Thisstudy sets out to explore causes of poor academic achievement in order to launch targeted interventions. A major issue was students’ limited capabilities in dealing with conceptual and theoretical problems. This was partially explained by a mismatch between types of problems in the exercises compared with those at the final exam. The ensuing intervention included the redesign of tasks to improve alignment of course components as well as introducing a mid-term exam specifically addressing conceptual and theoretical themes. Failure rates dropped markedly in subsequent years due to students’ enhanced ability to cope with the broader spectrum of course requirements.