University of Tasmania

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Lighting the path(way): articulating curriculum design principles for open access enabling programs

posted on 2023-05-25, 20:38 authored by Relf, B, Nicole Crawford, O'Rourke, J, Sharp, S, Hodges, B, Shah, M, Robin Katersky BarnesRobin Katersky Barnes

Enabling programs provide an effective and important pathway to higher education for students from disadvantaged backgrounds and target equity groups. They allow access to higher education for students who lack standard qualifications for entry and equip them with knowledge, skills and attitudes conducive to success in their first year of undergraduate studies. However, little is known about the conceptual frameworks for curriculum design for these programs. This project aimed to increase understanding of enabling curricula by:

1. examining the curriculum design approaches in three university enabling programs across Australia

2. articulating guiding principles that underlie curriculum design in these enabling programs

3. in light of these principles, facilitating the development of a strategic discussion on good practice in enabling curriculum design at a national level.

The project team examined the curriculum design approaches of one open access enabling program from each participating institution: the Open Foundation Program of The University of Newcastle, the University Preparation Program of the University of Tasmania and the UniPrep program of Edith Cowan University. These three programs represent the diversity of open access programs in Australia, with one having a discipline-specific focus (The University of Newcastle), the second having a focus on academic literacies and preparation (University of Tasmania), and the third having a combination of the two (Edith Cowan University). Each participating program was designed in response to its local context; different historical factors shaped the development of each program.

‘Curriculum’ is a complex and often misunderstood concept. This study works with a four-fold understanding of ‘curriculum’ comprising: the intended curriculum, the documented program information such as subject outlines; the enacted curriculum, what educators teach; the experienced curriculum, what students learn; and, weaving through them all, the hidden curriculum, the norms, values and beliefs associated with education.


Office for Learning & Teaching


Publication title

Lighting the path(way): articulating curriculum design principles for open access enabling programs

Commissioning body

Australian Government Department of Education and Training




Student Life and Enrichment


Australian Government Department of Education and Training

Place of publication


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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Teaching and curriculum not elsewhere classified

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