The role of collaboration in a comprehensive course design process in inclusive education

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


The participants in this study were six members of the inclusive education team and an educational designer who together comprised the design team. The data to be discussed emerged from the collaborative interactions of design team members. Multiple levels of collaboration were evident in this particular study, with the main focus on the collaborative practice of the design team but peripherally collaboration at the wider institutional level and with various stakeholders regarding the course content and their particular needs. As collaboration was integral to the creation of design principles and the sustainability of the design process, this study utilised a three phased approach, within the parameters of a conceptual framework, to focus on aspects of course design. Phase 1 looked at existing institutional course design and review processes and how these responded to the need for collaboration; Phase 2 the creation of a theoretically-derived course design process and how this responded to the need to utilise collaborative practice; and Phase 3 examined the capacity-building nature of the design process, and specifically collaboration, through the perspectives of the design team. From this data, the benefits and challenges of using collaborative practice for course design will be extrapolated and the implications of this experience will be discussed. This presentation focuses on the role of collaboration in a comprehensive study of a course design process in inclusive education. The broader intent was to examine the application of theory to the process and practice of course design. Four areas of need were identified in the inclusive education, teacher education and higher education literature - the need for a theory base for design, to utilise collaborative practice, to reduce the theory to practice gap and the impact of institutional practice. The use of collaborative practice is the dimension to be focused on in this presentation. Although there are many different definitions of collaboration in the literature, they all reflect the notion of working together in a positive manner, in an on-going basis and with a common goal (Angelides, 2004; Campos, Freitas & Gabrovschi, 2013; Friend & Cook, 2013). Higher education is often a solitary and isolating profession with university structures separating disciplines. This encourages varied decision making at a local rather than institutional level (Mortimer & Sathre, 2007). Norton, Sonnemann & Cherastidtham (2013) indicate that despite recognition of the benefits of collaboration, teachers in Australian universities continue to largely work in isolation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventAustralian Association for Research in Education International Education Research Conference: AARE 2014 - Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove Campus, Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 30 Nov 201404 Dec 2014


ConferenceAustralian Association for Research in Education International Education Research Conference


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