Development Of A Contemporary Curriculum Theory And Its Application To The Field Of Computer Studies At The Postsecondary Level

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




No clear guidelines exist for those creating curriculum in computer studies at the postsecondary level. This thesis proposes a comprehensive curriculum design for this rapidly emerging field.The proposed design is in three sections: the introduction, the main body of the curriculum, and optional courses. Each of these sections reflects a different approach to curriculum construction and together they incorporate seven characteristics that help overcome common problems faced by designs in computer studies.An earlier review of literature isolates four main classes of design: (a) linear, (b) core, (c) learner-centered, and (d) infusion designs. Descriptions of existing examples of each class of design also reveal the characteristics they possess which enable them to overcome particular problems.Eight of these problems are identified. They include the uncertainty of the future, the disparity in student backgrounds, and the absence of consensus on the content of computer studies.Besides being wide ranging many of these problems are new and unique to computer studies. Consequently, past approaches to curriculum construction which result in the use of one type of design only, are inadequate. They do not have the characteristics to overcome a particular problem or problems in the group. All that is required cannot be found in any one design.The contemporary curriculum theory developed is a formulation of principles governing the relationship between the characteristics and the problems. The principles are derived from an extensive review of relevant literature and expressed in the form of a schema of the proposed curriculum design. This design combines infusion, core and linear designs and thus incorporates all the needed characteristics.Development of contemporary theory, however, also consists of establishing standard terminology in the field. The thesis begins therefore by clarifying the meaning of some commonly used terms.


Education, Curriculum and Instruction

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