ERIC Number: EJ770330
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Mar
Reference Count: 18
Knowledge and the Educative Functions of a University: Designing the Curriculum of Higher Education
Short, Edmund C.
Journal of Curriculum Studies, v34 n2 p139-148 Mar 2002
One of the missions of a university is the creation and dissemination of knowledge. Because this work is traditionally divided among scores or even hundreds of academic and research units for the convenience of the producing scholars and the orderly retrieval of this knowledge, the problem of introducing university students to the world of knowledge is frequently seen as a non-problem, at least in the US. That is, all that is necessary, it is assumed, is for students to be exposed to work in the existing academic units one-by-one, or in some combination. Curricular requirements in US universities generally call for matriculation in a selection of courses offered in the various units designated by reference to some general educational rationale or specialized educational purpose. However, an examination of almost any US university's curricular goals or expectations and the actual courses taken by particular students demonstrates significant discontinuities between the rationale and the actuality, between the intentions of general or specialized education and the knowledge made available in the courses taken. In this paper, the author contends that a major reason for the existence of these discontinuities lies with the assumption that the organization of the curriculum of higher education should be done in the same manner that the university organizes to do its research and knowledge production. He suggests that this is a faulty premise upon which to organize the curriculum, and that there are better ways to introduce students to a university's store of knowledge than by this traditional approach, ways that can bring educational purposes and actual learning more in line with each other and, at the same time, maintain a more accurate representation of scholarly knowledge in what a student actually carries away than is the case under the present system.
Descriptors: Higher Education, Educational Objectives, Curriculum Development, College Students, Curriculum Design
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States