About this Project

 

Background to the Project

In 2014, Lincoln University’s School of Social & Political Sciences validated a new Criminology module in Youth Justice to be delivered to Level 2 students from 2016 onwards. This provided a unique opportunity for developing a new approach to curriculum design and delivery based in collaborative models of higher education. The module is envisaged as grounding teaching and learning about ‘youth justice’ in the latest research, policy and practice in this area, by building upon the expertise of staff within the school and crucially the community of local youth justice practitioners, including some of our own alumni. We have been fortunate to be granted funding from the University’s Fund for Educational Development to help us take this vision forward.

Aims and Objectives

The aims of this project are therefore to build a team of students from all levels of study to research and design the curriculum of a new Youth Justice module which involves youth justice organisations to ensure that the content is exciting, relevant and up to date. Rather than students studying youth justice in theory, they will be exposed to its practice within a ‘live’ and constantly evolving module, and become part of a wider community of practice. By involving students in designing both curriculum content and the specific methods of delivery and assessment, it is anticipated that students taking the module are likely to be more satisfied with the module, more engaged with their studies, with better attendance and improved performance.

The module will promote learning through discovery as it is grounded in real life practice, with interactions between students and practitioners embedded in the module design and delivery. There is exciting potential to develop digital teaching strategies, including blogs, podcasts, videos and use of social media to support student’s understanding. All of this brings opportunities to shift the spaces in which learning takes place. Trips, eg to a YOI or the Youth Court, or guest speakers in informal environments could support online spaces as alternatives to the traditional ‘classroom’.

The assessment validated is a briefing paper on an aspect of good practice in youth justice, which has scope for varied and creative assignment tasks. Through practitioner links and use of case studies, this assessment becomes a student research project with real-life application. Our student team will design the assessment guidance, marking criteria, and feedback strategies.

Research and Evaluation

As well as designing the module alongside academic and professional staff, the student team will also support the evaluation of the project and the dissemination of our findings at academic conferences.

The evaluation of the project will test a number of questions:

  •  In what ways might a module designed by students promote greater student engagement and improved performance?
  • Can collaborating with practitioners on curriculum design improve the quality of a module and does this have an impact on student engagement?
  • How might the process of students collaborating with practitioners in this context help them to reflect upon and develop their own employability skills?

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