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This study is concerned with improving the design and delivery of the curriculum on a four year BA in Design Visual Communication programme in the Dublin Institute of Technology. The study examines how aspects of curriculum design and delivery affect some of the key stakeholders - the students and academic staff – involved in the programme. It looks at how the design and delivery of the curriculum can be improved with a view to achieving two main aims. The first aim is to promote a deep approach to learning among visual communication students. The second aim is to promote a deep approach to learning among visual communication students. The second aim is to foster greater collaboration, communication and effective team teaching among the lecturers on the programme. The question was examined through designing and monitoring a theme based integrated Visual Communication project with a third year group of students. The project was delivered through team teaching over an eight week period. There were seven staff members on the teaching team and I assumed the role of project coordination. The relevant literature is reviewed with a view to establishing the possible approaches to design education. This focuses in particular on approaches to learning; interdisciplinary, theme based curricula and team teaching. The research is grounded in a critical theoretic framework. The research consisted of an action research cycle conducted with the collaboration of teaching colleagues and students. The data consisted of student evaluation questionnaires and focus group interviews with the teaching team. It also includes field notes by means of a research diary. The main findings show that team teaching leads to an improvement in team work and communication among the participating lecturers. The theme based approach to curriculum design supported by team teaching fostered a deeper approach to learning among students and resulted in students adopting a more integrated understanding of the subjects on the Visual Communication Programme. The study concludes with a series of recommendations including a proposal from participating students and staff that the theme based approach and team teaching be adopted across the four years of the programme. It also proposed that it is necessary to conduct a further investigation into how modularization will affect the implementation of the proposed learning and teaching strategies.
Dermody, Brenda:Improving Student Learning Through Theme Based Curriculum Design and Team Teaching: An Action Research Study. Dissertation. Dublin, Dublin Institute of Technology, 2004.