Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Notes on attending of Large-scale curriculum redesign where technology plays a central role


Conference site


I was very interested in this subject area, as we have been working over the past 3 years with programme teams to redesign their courses to include technology or just design in programme level pedagogic changes. We are currently using TESTA and carpe dime processes very successfully.

The event focused on stories of how institutions are working with all staff at an institutional level to bring in change. We have had strategic, policy lead projects over the years. These changes where similar, with more staff being made or pushed towards the adoption.


Mark Stubbs from MMU told his story of redesigning large scale processes to get the most from systems integration. This would help stream line processes which would lead to an anticipation for curriculum change. We have tried similar things with changes to all programmes in 2010 to larger 24 credit modules, and 3 assessment points per module. I believe, with these types of large changes, a certain rigidity creeps into the system. 30 credit modules, with fixed amounts of assessment points, leave less opportunity for flexibility of delivery in the future. The huge amount of energy involved means that there is little left to address the programmes pedagogic design. However, it was an impressive demonstration of the power of linking live data educational systems. I particularly likes the student feedback collection centrally and then tagged in order to link staff with their student, which creates a tighter connection and turnaround


Donald Clark was persuasive as usual, focusing on the seismic shift from scarcity of educational opportunities to scalable open accesses. If someone can mass produce something that was rare, the impact is huge. He sees current University building projects  as a last vain attempt to build scarcity into education. You can only have so many students in those rooms, which leads to in build scarcity. But with the move to massive online education, suddenly something isn't scarce anymore. So we go the way of the book shop. For instance Stanford Uni aren't building any more lecture halls. So the tipping point between physical and virtual has been reached and we are on the wrong side. The shift will be quick and dramatic, leaving old practices in the slow lane. Donald recommends this change management book by kotter to help understand how to find our way out of this mess. Donald touched on Digital literacy, how do we keep up when the skills set develops over every 3 months. He is not sure about this one. I think there probably is some generic skills that could be built into course curriculum design. A programme assessment task that involves a research process by students of the use of technology to support their studies and their careers. The question of why are we not sharing content, remains unanswered. So much reinvention is leaving us far behind, and wasting precious development time.

The big story is the Ufi sell off and the formation of a 54m funding for employability course development.


For me though the most inspiring session was from Ciara Duffy. This project saw 800 staff and many thousands of students not turn up to college for a whole day and then a whole week! These were stud-e days, where the whole college delivered online for a day. I like this for its simplicity of message. The college needs to explore new delivery methods because of weather conditions and rural location of students, so, let's all give it ago.


I was surprised that there was no mention of TESTA, Carpe Diem or Napier Unis 3Es process, all of which I see as having possibilities to help in delivering large scale change.