OULDI-JISC Partner meeting

Thank you to Ruth Brown for hosting our project partners meeting at London South Bank this month. The next meeting is scheduled in June and will be hosted by Amyas at Cambridge. The picture is of us all squeezing into the lift on our way to lunch!

The meeting began with an update on partner activities since we last met up.

Brunel University has made significant progress in terms of embedding learning design processes and support for design. They have been engaged in developing a suite of learning design resources where each item in the tool kit has been evaluated by Dr Julia Stephenson and trialled with staff teams. In addition, four of the programme development teams that participated in the ‘Tools for Change’ learning design workshop last year are being followed up. There are several examples of continued interest in aspects of learning design from these groups such as one team (who were perhaps more ambivalent about learning design on the day of the workshop) requesting a workshop on reflection and another asking for support on formulating a design strategy. The Brunel team are close to completing their interventions and moving to the data analysis stage.

The Reading University led OULDI pilots are also reporting strong progress and have started consolidating and analysing data gathered over the last 18 months with a view to completing reporting by Easter. Five academic staff are participating in the case studies trialling learning design tools. Whilst engagement has been varied, examples of benefit are emerging. These examples have been shared on Cloudworks and/or the university intranet (see for example ‘Using CompendiumLD for Course Design at Reading University’ and ‘A Video Diary of Curriculum Design’)We discussed factors which encouraged academics to publically share their design processes and various ideas were put forward including the benefit to raising staff profile, offering ‘time’ to think about course development, and the incentive on offer in this case to the individual (a contribution to their personal training budget).  We also considered the rich data capture methods used at Reading (for example video diaries and recorded semi-structured interviews). For example, we discussed how far the data capture method impacted on the design process itself -the video diaries in particular seemed to provide an opportunity for critical reflection and articulation of the design process at key points that may well in themselves have had a positive impact on the design outputs. The Reading academic who kept video diaries of his design process has been asked to participate in a JISC led Elluminate session on using video for evaluation purposes in early March, and it is hoped this session will provide further opportunities to explore the issues around the impact of the method and analysis of rich data more generally.

The OULDI-JISC project has been central to maintaining the promotion of learning design at London South Bank University which has organised several events:

o        A Learning and Teaching workshop which has been of benefit to resolving / finding solutions to immediate academic design problems. For those new staff, these sessions are seen to provide a faster way to up-skill than is available on, say, the PGCAP. There is a planned feedback session for this.

o        A curriculum design day. One finding from this was the usefulness of the CLD icon set – even when being used on paper

o        A series of ‘how to’ workshops. These have proved popular, with external speakers being invited (and paid) to led sessions on particular themes.

o        And Cloudworks is being trialled as a repository of links to learning objects for the Department of Law.

The final OULDI-JISC project UK partner is Cambridge University. The work is closely aligned with their own JISC award which is currently beginning to develop a ‘23 things about learning design’ resource. Data is likely to emerge from the Cambridge pilot later than from the other three; however, this provides opportunity for integration of the accomplishments of the others in to the creation and dissemination of the resources planned.

A further outcome of the session discussion was to highlight some possible emerging project impacts. The following impacts were mentioned during this session by one or more of the partners present:

o        The project was providing an institutional platform from which to disseminate and raise profile of learning design

o        The project was building relationships between the learning design team and lecturers because there is resource to provide a ‘learning design expert’ or ‘mediator’ who can consult and provide support

o        Recruitment of new lecturers for one faculty is including consideration of the applicants learning design skills

o        There is better use of evidence for iteratively feeding back in to the process and support offered

o        There is an awareness (from workshop feedbacks) that some staff may need more basic tools when first introduced to some learning design practices; so rather than focus on the technology they use more pen and paper

o        Staff with an existing interest in developing skills in learning or curriculum design are wanting to move in the direction,

o        Concrete examples now exist of application of the approach  and also conversion of perhaps more initially sceptical work colleagues

After lunch we focused in on analysis and reporting data. We began by reviewing the progress made by Maria Papaefthimiou at Reading and the template she and I have been developing, and broadly agreed that it would be a useful structure for all 8 pilots. We then participated in an activity led by my OU colleague Simon Cross mapping pilot evaluation questions against actual data collection and analysis. This very usefully enabled us to consider the ‘gaps’ in our data collection so far, hear about what others were collecting, and structured a cross partner discussion around methods and analysis. We noted that where possible we could use the same surveys, interview schedules etc which would both save time and enable synthesis across the project as a whole.

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