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This hermeneutic phenomenological study presents a description of computer science lecturers’ experiences of curriculum design of degree programmes during a time of transition in curriculum design policy, specifically in the context of Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). It examines the lived experiences of computer science lecturers to highlight the issues and problems relating to lecturers’ lived experiences of curriculum design, and it describes how it is to be a computer science lecturer in a time of policy change for curriculum design. The findings are that lecturers have been, and are, struggling to cope with the transition from year-long to semesterised courses, that they feel pressured and overworked, but continue to try to adapt from feelings of professionalism and concern to provide curricula that suit the courses. They feel resentful about the lack of preparation and information that might have been given to them prior to, and during, the change. The literature has suggested that further investigation into the effects of institutional policy change on lecturers ought to be carried out. There have been recommendations for the design of degree programmes in Irish institutes, including DIT and its School of Computing. These recommendations form the basis for the quality assurance of the educational programmes to which they are applied. It follows that any divergence between recommended best practice and the experiences of those designing the curricula has serious implications for the assurance on offer. This study has two parts, conducted using hermeneutic phenomenological assumptions and methodology to collect, analyse and interpret data from semi-structured interview transcripts. The preliminary study involved twelve computer science lecturers. The findings of this work served the context to a more in-depth study of the same participants’ experiences. This second study led to findings that describe the computer science lecturers’ lived experiences as curriculum designers. Findings relate to conditions and issues of curriculum design, and lead to the identification of implications for groups and individuals associated with third-level education. This research encourages readers to thoughtfully reflect on what is it like for these computer science lecturers as curriculum designers, and become better informed about what happens during the process of curriculum and module design. The full significance of such reflection will ideally promote further questioning and inquiry, in keeping with the provisional nature of phenomenological inquiry.
Sloan, A. (2015) A Phenomenological Study of Computer Science Lecturers: Lived Experiences of Curriculum Design, Doctoral Thesis, Dublin Institute of Technology. doi:10.21427/D7QC75