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Durham e-Theses
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Implications of an integrated curriculum in a polytechnic or competence based environment

Bahajjaj, Ayusni (2007) Implications of an integrated curriculum in a polytechnic or competence based environment. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This is a comparative case study of an innovative approach to teaching computer programming to novices. The focus of this study is to evaluate the integrated curriculum which blends face-to-face interaction with computing practice and online learning to first-year polytechnic students in an engineering informatics diploma course. To examine the efficacy of the blended learning approach, the integrated curriculum is compared to its predecessor which has applied the traditional structured curriculum. This thesis gains relevance from its study of different dimensions of the curriculum comprising the curriculum aims and objectives, the teaching-learning activities and the different forms of assessment. The research design is mainly qualitative employing analytic induction methods to arrive at its inferences and findings. Content analysis and observation have been performed to evaluate the curriculum of each of the cases. A quantitative analysis is performed on students' performance in the computer programming module to add validity to the qualitative findings. Data were collected for students taking the Principles of Computing module in the first semester of the first year in 2005 and 2006 respectively; a total of 232 students came from the 2005 cohort and 247 students came from the 2006 cohort. The dependent variables are the module score and its sub-components, the project score and the individual test score. The independent variable significant to this study is the student's entry level GCE 'O' levels aggregate; gender is not a significant variable unlike in other studies involving mathematics or science. The findings highlight the differences that exist between a traditional structured learning environment to the blended learning environment and how students perform under the different learning environments. A major contribution of this study is the constructive alignment framework incorporating the integrated curriculum characteristics to support the blended learning approach. By reviewing the curriculum, the teaching methods, the assessment procedures and the learning environment with regard to the integrated curriculum characteristics, this study has made significant discoveries on the strengths and limitations of the blended learning approach. The results of this study show how the roles of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment are inter-related and have to be integrated into the curriculum to foster better learning for students. Finally, the findings reveal the importance of the influence of the tutor in the blended learning delivery and the students' preference for tutor interaction. Through these findings, the study is able to recommend future improvements to the Principles of Computing module.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Education
Thesis Date:2007
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:26

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