I attended a recent SURF meeting at Staffordshire University that discusses the development of Fd's. This was a very informative meeting, as issues raised were clearly linked to work being under taken by Enable. The main conversations were around a new review of products for our partnerships which Enable will be assisting in, UCAS course data and issues with systems.
The group discussed UCAS course data and how it is handled between colleges and the university, and who should be supplying the information to UCAS. This is something that had not been discussed with Enable, but as we start looking at course information it is an important part to consider, and if the process changes, or should each college be handled the same way?
As part of the discussions around system issues from this meeting we had a get together with a member of staff from faculty to talk about their experiences of using university systems to support non traditional courses. This was an interesting discussion that showed that sometimes we, as a university, move faster than our learners, and that some processes need to be more flexible with the ability to support non-technical approaches, including e-enrolment, and that we should be encouraging the use of plain English for anything learners are involved in rather than assuming a level of literacy that they may not have not just for handbooks but also for the their online experiences. At the same time as this the partner colleges also reported issues with assumed learner access to technology, which can impact on learners being able to access systems once they attend lectures. Hopefully with the input of partner colleges we will be able to resolve this and other issues. Which links nicely to our next stage of the project which is where we look at issues raised and how they can be addressed and piloting some changes.