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Sources of complexity in participatory curriculum development: an activity system and stakeholder analysis approach to the analyses of tensions and contradictions

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Ian Keith Alexander, Carsten Nico Portefée Hjortsø

The purpose of this article is to contribute to a better understanding of the nature of participatory curriculum development in higher education institutions. We conducted a longitudinal case study that scrutinized an international participatory curriculum development process. Our research spanned six universities across four countries in Africa. We used cultural-historical activity theory as a theoretical lens to identify the critical tensions underlying the curriculum development activity. Six primary contradictions and four secondary contradictions were identified. These tensions were mainly rooted in issues concerning stakeholder relations, rule rigidity, and resource availability. We integrate a stakeholder perspective and discuss how practitioners who seek to design and implement effective participatory curriculum development processes can benefit from applying a combination of activity system and stakeholder analyses during planning as well as implementation stages.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHigher Education
Number of pages22
ISSN0018-1560
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - 22 May 2018

ID: 196913867