ABSTRACT

The increasing opportunities for modularised and interdisciplinary study in contemporary university curricula have opened up to scrutiny ways of being and knowing that have been traditionally defi ned by progression through, and mastery of, a disciplinary programme of study. As the status of higher education institutions and lecturers as the sole constructors and curators of specialised knowledge have been challenged ( Bridges 2000 ), the curriculum has become an important site for the reshaping of student and lecturer identities in higher education. The emergent focus on identities has the potential to be transformative and engender genuinely participative curricula. Such changes have also, however, raised concerns about intellectual, social and personal fragmentation as an outcome of individual engagement with a divergent curriculum structure, an interrupted cohort experience and the lack of intellectual continuity within a modularised curriculum ( Light et al. 2009 ). The ‘commodifi cation’ of the curriculum into bite-size modules with assigned fees and credit has been seen as a signifi cant threat to disciplinary understanding ( Parker 2003 ). Even in the US, where broader general education has a well-established history in university curricula, reforms focused on generating greater coherence and enabling students to make connections between different components of their programme remain an ‘unfi nished agenda’ ( Johnson and Ratcliff 2004 : 92).