Thursday, 11 December 2008


The project partner presentation at Newcastle went really well and seemed very positive. They gave us some thoughts on where they would see the Enable project, plus seemed very open to the idea of using blogs and reflecting on the processes involved in curriculum design, and development. We managed to make a clear distinction between the Enable project and DIVAS during this meeting, as we are still planning on using the Validation Support Network to capture the reflective process. They have collected a number of awards that are in development at the college, and have one more interview before we get the templates back all completed. We will then need to think of a way of capturing when those developments change status - something to think about for the new year I feel. I have also contacted Shrewsbury to find out where they are with capturing award information, it looks like we might be waiting for the New Year before that information comes to us, but is on the list. I will be popping to see the Shrewsbury team just before Christmas to see if they are happy and also give them an overview of the project and what is happening. Once I have finished this blog its time to spend some time with the To Do list in Outlook so nothing gets over looked.

Linking together

Had an interesting conversation with Sam on Monday afternoon about how the spokes will all link together, and that we need to start thinking about the themes and who will fit in each one. We have started on a simple map of all the spoke names we have spoken to and put in initial lines on how they fit together. We have been pleased to note during some interviews projects have been talking together, but there are still some obvious gaps where the theme groups will work.
This morning I am off with Richard Benefer and Sue Lee to talk to the HE forum at Newcastle college about Enable, I have loads of handouts for them, including what we will expect from them for the funding and how they fit into the project as a whole. A lot is a duplicate of the meeting we had with the partners at the end of October. I will feed back on this meeting as I am hoping for some useful conversation to come out of it.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Perceptions of Student Recruitment Information

We had an interesting conversation this morning around how the University markets itself to different learners.

We found that the recruitment of learners can be something that is the responsibility of a number of different stakeholders in the institution which can cause confusion over the message going out to potential students.
  •  Faculty:  Award leader and or Link tutor (for partner colleges)
  • Services: Marketing team, student recruitment or AimHigher
Each stakeholder perceives themselves as the data owners, thus when changes occur to the content they can feel that they have lost control of that information, or that information has been misinterpreted.

Issues around student marketing/recruitment start right at the beginning of course development as one of the first templates require staff to estimate student numbers for the award. Without support from marketing and student recruitment these numbers can be difficult to collate. Not only that but all award documentation for course design is focused on either faculty/senior management viewing or for Quality Assurance.Therefore to to promote awards to potential students there needs to be a change in language which means a duplication of effort in creating more materials - saying the same thing slightly differently!
There is an initiative in the university that is looking at bringing the efforts of student recruitment and AimHigher together, however there are some interesting holes in the processes around recruitment and marketing within the university. Some work is occurring with the Student Experience around this issue being done by Paul Baron, who we spoke to last week.  He is supporting investigating how we manage the product portfolio, how new markets are identified and how communication is managed between the university and prospective learners.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Faculty and Process Spokes - Feedback

UPDATED 2012-06

We have had another busy week here, talking to members of faculties, those reviewing processes in the University, and taking part in Annual Award Reviews. It all feeds into what we would like from Curriculum Design and Development.

An issue highlighted from interviews recently was around using templates for faculties in course design. There are a number of different course design templates that need completing, and even when training is provided they can still be interpreted and completed in a number of different ways.

UPDATE: By creating FLAG we are hoping some of these issues will be taken out of the equation, although we are still waiting for feedback on this, and there are some rather big changes expected in the near future around forms faculties will need to complete, these will be reflected in FLAG.
There are also some new spoke initiatives, Document Management, that will support how information is collected within a workflow. XCRI-CAP which is looking at what information is stored, how it is stored and inputted into existing systems. XCRI-CAP will be looking at creating a single source of truth of course information and therefore will be looking at the quality of information collected. The Student Systems Project is also looking at course information, and is working in tandem with the XCRI-CAP project team.

When asked for "blue sky" ideas we heard about:
  •  personalised prospectus and website.
UPDATE: With the new XCRI-CAP project being run by Sam Scott this 'blue sky' thought is becoming closer to being a reality. Importantly Sam is working closely with the Enable team to understand the impact of her work, alongside that of other initiatives within the institution. In particular Sam is working on using ArchiMate models to communicate how this can happen and what can cause issues.
  • experiences should be personal to those we are trying to engage
UPDATE: This fits with the new University Strategy and the Academic Plan, including focusing on graduate attributes. However at this time this hasn't been clarified completely, how are we going to do it? FLAG has been designed to ask the questions of course designers and gives some guidance on opportunities for personalisation of course delivery, however systems and information in the university still make this very difficult.
  • and that the addition of negotiated modules onto traditional awards as options would be useful.
UPDATE: Recent restructuring of awards may make it possible in the future. Although there has been no mention of this particular goal in university documents, it does fit with personalisation of award delivery and design.

I have yet to have time to blog about last weeks training and conference work, but I am hoping I will get some time free soon to do that! Next week we have more interviews and we will be presenting to our first college partner HE Forum.