Aligning with institutional goals, drivers and needs


Innovations are far more likely to be taken up if they can support specific institutional or faculty/school/departmental goals, needs/drivers and even more so, if the institution has a particular strategy to implement. Here are a few examples:

 

Widening participation

 Widening participation is a key driver for higher education institutions and may involve extending the geographical reach of programmes as well as providing more flexible modes of study – all of which is likely to need supporting by cost-effective technology-enhance learning techniques.

 

Improving assessment and feedback

 Due to the existence of league tables (amongst other things), Institutions typically prioritise addressing concerns expressed by students in the National Student Survey (NSS). Contact time and feedback from assessments are two common areas of concern for many HEIs and Learning Teaching and Assessment (LT&A) innovations can support programme teams in addressing such needs. The University of Hertfordshire’s ESCAPE project within the JISC Transforming Curriculum Delivery programme responds to national and institutional concerns regarding assessment and feedback. The project aims to enhance the assessment experience for learners and staff by drawing together curriculum development activities and change management techniques to investigate and embed the use of ICT to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of assessment practices. The project also aims to identify activities and practices that will be transportable to all disciplines and act as a springboard for widespread change in philosophy, strategy, policy and practice across the institution. Similarly, the University of Westminster’s Making Assessment Count project aims to enhance curriculum delivery through the development of an innovative assessment feedback system. Existing e-based technologies are used in an innovative way to develop an integrated process to collate feedback, guide student reflections and facilitate their use of feedback to improve performance and inform  their ensuing aspirations. There is emphasis on reflection to enhance the student learning process and the process provides a centralised transparent system for staff to share feedback in order to provide better overall guidance to students.

 

External engagement

As well as addressing student concerns, there are also needs and concerns of other stakeholders such as those of individual employers, professional/standards bodies and sector agencies. For example, the University of Bristol eBioLabs project (part of the JISC Transforming Curriculum Delivery programme, addressed industry concerns about the quality of laboratory skills. There are potentially many opportunities for HE/FE institutions to work in partnership with employers, particularly at a sector level to address sector needs and transform delivery to ensure economies of scale.  

 

Improving student learning experience, “personalisation” and employability

 Improving the student learning experience is at the heart many institutional agendas; employability is similarly a priority and this can incorporate:

Innovations in learning, teaching and assessment approaches, provided they are driven from a pedagogical perspective, can support such improvements e.g. helping to provide a personalised education – at scale. A number of projects from the  JISC Transforming Curriculum Delivery programme are centred around improving the student learning experience and employability e.g. Kingston College’s KUBE project (Kingston Uplift for Business Education) is designed to address a number of significant issues (pedagogic, lifestyle and vocational) relating to learner engagement and success. Similarly the College of West Anglia has developed SpringboardTV (an internet TV station to enrich teaching and learning), designed to enrich curriculum delivery by providing enhanced resources and a diversity of learning experiences for learners across a range of the college’s media curriculum.

 

Work-based learning (WBL)

 A key issue for institutions in relation to working in partnership with employers is how to design and deliver programmes in an agile and cost-effective way – where traditional teaching techniques are typically not cost-effective. Learning, teaching and assessment innovations, along with new approaches to WBL, are key to making the design of WBL programmes more agile and cost-effective. JISC’s Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development programme has funded a range of institutions to develop new approaches to WBL.

 

Remote learners 

Many institutions are developing strategies for widening their geographical reach to remote learners e.g. using distance learning techniques. Learning, teaching and assessment innovations are obviously crucial to making the design and delivery of such programmes agile and cost-effective. A number of institutions within the JISC Transforming Curriculum Delivery programme have developed pedagogic models and approaches to support remote learners:

 

Teaching spaces modernisation (or new build)

 When plans are drawn up for teaching spaces to be updated or newly built, it is an ideal time for the institutions's e-learning strategy to be embedded within the estates strategy. Although this sounds obvious there are examples of institutions which have failed to engage the e-learning team in designing and planning new or refurbished teaching spaces. There are, however, some excellent examples of teaching spaces that have been designed with e-learning as an integral element in the form of learning resources buildings (e.g. integrated with library and information services) and teaching rooms where effective use if made of computing and audio-visual facilities.  

 

The Planning and Designing Technology-Rich Learning Spaces infoKit provides guidance in this area together with case studies and a rich image resource in Flickr. 

 

Institutional globalisation

Digital technologies can support institutions in meeting their globalisation strategies and plans e.g. in attracting world-class students to the UK and in delivering a UK education internationally.  The Integrative Technologies project within the JISC Curriculum Delivery programme sought to address the educational challenges faced by the University of Exeter's flagship Business School as it entered a phase of considerable student expansion and international diversification. The Business School anticipates growth in student numbers in the region of 250% by 2014, with approximately 40% of those students coming from international backgrounds. In order for the School to continue to provide an excellent educational experience for all throughout this expansion technology is envisaged as playing a major role in this. To this end, school staff and students, collaborating with the University’s Education Enhancement Unit, were involved in designing and delivering a ‘step change’ so that technology is used to enhance learning across all aspects of the curriculum.