Wednesday, 28 September 2011

New Course Product Design

As Enable moves towards its final phase we are making some great progress with the work we have been doing for the FLAG project and for supporting the work around developing unified course development theory!

We have created a number of ArchiMate business layer views from a model of CDD. This has been based on the baseline Sam did for the project, but as we knew the processes had changed since then thanks to the Quality Review work we also needed to read a lot of documentation and have discussions with stakeholders involved within faculties (Directors of Teaching and Learning, Tutors and administrative staff) and services (such as Quality and Partnerships).
ArchiMate Model of Stage 2 - Award Planning (high level)
During the stakeholder discussions with the views we noted a few interesting factors:
  • What is believed to happen by managers often isn't the case for those on the ground
  • Processes that are believed to be sequential are often running in tandem to ensure speed in development (can cause problems)
  • Responsibility of the process of new product development can sit with different individuals without any joining up.
Although the model and its views have been useful for my own purposes, and for discussions with stakeholders they were not quite at the right level to be used with the Pineapple software, which worked at a lower, business process/ work flow level. With the ArchiMate views  it was hard to create links between different stages and the support resources available to the University and highlighting the different preparation points within the processes. At this point it was clear a work flow was needed to pull out all the information from stakeholders around the advice and guidance needed to complete the course development processes.

The first attempt at creating a work-flow from idea to validation is shown below - all information in black is considered part of the core/ parent process, the text in red is information that sits within child processes (Completing documentation, Understanding Employer Engagement, Assessment etc). 

This helped clarify my thoughts before moving on to using Word as a standard tool to create the workflows, with the relevant advice attached to the different preparation points. At first each point in the core work-flow became a new stage in the process, however we soon changed that to match the stages from modelling.
  • Idea 
  • Initial Approval 
  • Award Approval Documentation 
  • Preparing for Validation 
  • Validation 
 An example work-flow at this point, including questions to ask at each preparation point:
Flow and Advice v1 for Stage 3 - Preparing for Validation

These models have since been distributed to the project team to help create the child processes, as they are more familiar with that area. This was one of the reasons I chose to use Word to create the flows, so that they could copy the standardisations easily. Even so it has required a short demo document so that the flow fits the set up of Pineapple, including a two page document where on one side was the actual flow in Pineapple using screen shots and on the other was the actual flow created. As I am very close to this work it has been invaluable to hand it over to the project team for review and also over to faculties already interviewed. It has also been vital that I keep impartial to the work so that I can view all aspects of the suggestions made. I also believe it has helped that I am not a process owner in creating these flows. It has been demonstrated by some of the work already gone on that process owners have a very narrow view of curriculum design and development!

These workflows have been designed to be printed out and used for each stakeholder discussion to ensure we captured each faculties nuances around course development before building the process into Pineapple.