Skip navigation

QAA Shared Modules Collaborative Enhancement Project: Shared modules literature review

QAA Shared Modules Collaborative Enhancement Project: Shared modules literature review

Decker, Sallyanne (Olufemi), Sims, Stuart ORCID: 0000-0002-5903-3398 , George, Rachel, Eranova, Mariya, Caussat, Paul, Pullen, Emma and Girdley, Ryan (2023) QAA Shared Modules Collaborative Enhancement Project: Shared modules literature review. Discussion Paper. The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, Gloucester and London.

PDF (Published discussion paper)
46043_DECKER_QAA_Shared_Modules_Collaborative_Enhancement_Project_Shared_modules_literature_review.pdf - Published Version

Download (480kB) | Preview


Modules taught to students on more than one degree programme, henceforth referred to as shared modules, are a common feature across the Higher Education (HE) landscape. Yet, a gap exists in the definition and study of shared modules in the HE literature and in designing pedagogical tools to support the construction of shared modules. To elicit the distinctiveness of shared modules and their implications for curriculum design, this literature review first draws on selective literature related to modularisation in HE, disciplinary identity, interdisciplinarity, interprofessional education and curriculum frameworks. From the insights gained, the second part of the review proposes a definition and typology of shared modules that includes the challenges they present. The review highlighted the institutional forces underneath the development of shared modules in HE, and the conflicting identities (disciplinary, student, teacher) and heterogeneity that emerge as a result. The review also revealed insights into issues involving a convoluted articulation between disciplinary boundaries, interaction with other disciplines and integration across disciplines. Challenges associated with shared disciplines include academic isolation and alienation, disciplinary protectionism, curricular incoherence and intractable administrative arrangements that take module sharing for granted. However, shared modules offer opportunities to highlight the potential of disciplinary interaction in the curriculum and for collaborative curriculum design and team teaching which can ultimately enhance the quality of learning. Thus, there is a need for a distinction between the process of module sharing and the shared module as a vehicle for learning and creation of interdisciplinary students. Understanding and approaching the design of shared modules to promote inclusive education requires a nuanced approach that recognizes the variations in the shared modules universe and associated issues. A typology is developed which defines and differentiates between implanted, multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary and interprofessional shared modules, highlighting the challenges that are associated with each. Just as important for understanding the nature of module sharing are the student pathways that underpin module sharing. Based on this review, we are proposing the following possibilities for such pathways. 
• Shared by students on different programmes or pathways in the same disciplinary area 
• Shared by students from different disciplinary areas which are within the same school or faculty 
• Shared by students from different disciplinary areas which are in different schools or faculties 
• Can be selected by students on a combined honours programme 
Each of these has different implications for students’ experience, particularly in terms of identity and belonging. There is little attention in the literature to how students’ characteristics are brought into curriculum design and the learning environment in the case of shared modules.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: shared module; interdisciplinarity; curriculum design; student identity; disciplinarity; inclusive curriculum
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > ZA Information resources
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Information & Library Services
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2024 10:37

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics