The Role of the Educational Designer in Educational Reform and Curriculum Redesign: Finding our Place and Defining our Roles

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This paper discusses our experiences as educational designers who have been recently appointed into positions that previously did not exist in an Australian university. These appointments within the Faculty of Education are part of a larger process of educational reform and curriculum redesign. This paper is a reflection on how we are contributing to this reform and establishing ways of working with academic colleagues. It also describes the development of a shared understanding of the role of an educational designer. The initial perceptions of the educational designer role by many academic staff tended to involve the provision of technical support. As time has gone by the educational designer role is seen to be more that of co-designer of curriculum and initiator of innovative pedagogical approaches. The exploration described in this paper uncovered several issues surrounding the shifts in these roles. One of the evident tensions is the unresolved debate about where best to place educational designers within an organisational structure. There are also the question of what is an appropriate balance between working towards systemic change and addressing specific immediate needs of staff. This paper explores the approaches we have taken and reports on the factors which have emerged as critical to shaping the educational reform and curriculum redesign work carried out by us in the Faculty.


Keywords: Educational Design, Curriculum Redesign, Educational Reform, Learning Design, e-Learning, Learning Technologies
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Shem Macdonald

Educational Designer, Faculty of Education, La Trobe University
Bundoora, Victoria, Australia

Shem Macdonald is an educational designer within the Faculty of Education at La Trobe University in Victoria, Australia. He comes to this role with a background in teaching English as a second language and with experience working in learning and academic skills development. Having worked with adult learners from a range of backgrounds has provided useful insights and understanding of the issues facing students when confronting new ways of learning. Through his teaching he has developed an interest and expertise in the use of educational technologies to enhance the learning of students. In his current work he has the opportunity to bring together these skills when working with academic staff to integrate learning technologies in ways which are accessible and engaging for learners.

Lilian Austin

Educational Designer, Faculty of Education, La Trobe University
Bundoora, Victoria, Australia

Lilian Austin is an educational designer in the Faculty of Education at La Trobe University in Victoria, Australia. Lilian has a background in teaching, in both English as a Second Language, and workplace learning. In the past five years she has been focusing on the effective use of ICTs in teaching and learning. She has been involved extensively in developing the teaching skills and knowledge base of academic teaching staff and has initiated a range of professional development, online and instructional design initiatives. She has also been an instructional designer on large scale e-learning resource development projects for the Australian education sector.

Ref: L09P0326