In a way it feels like the production of this module is properly starting now in January 2019, although the official start date was back in August last year. The reason for this that it became quickly clear back then that before we can start the production we first need to have a thorough debate in the School of Psychology about the different audiences D241 will need to service, and how the module should be framed to achieve this.
These discussions started with the Learning Design workshop in September last year. Organised and moderated by Jitse van Ameijde, a Senior TEL (Technology Enhanced Learning) designer at the OU, we had a whole day to discuss the potential ‘student profile’ on the new module, and develop first ideas for the content/structure of the module in terms of topics, assessments, skills development and tuition events. For the workshop discussions it was very useful to have all the people together who will be working on the production of D241, not only the academic module team members but also Curriculum Manager, Project Manager from LTI (Learning and Teaching Innovation), Learning and Teaching Librarian and Senior Manager for Curriculum Development from the Faculty of Arts and Social Science – here is a photo from the workshop:
Following the workshop, there was a thorough debate at school management level about the best balance and framing for the module to meet the curriculum needs of the students who will take it. D241 will be a new level 2 60-credit module (replacing and extending the 30-credit module D240 ‘Counselling: Exploring Fear and Sadness’) and play an important role for the OU’s psychology and counselling curriculum – primarily for students studying Q84 BSc Psychology with Counselling and Q07 BSc Psychology, but also those who study X09 Foundation Degree in Counselling. As a result of these discussions we have decided that D214 should adopt a broader approach (compared to D240) and combine the focus on counselling theory and practice with a critical approach to situate and (de)construct mental health/illness.
We also felt that in order to incorporate broad and employment-relevant input into module design/content we need to seek feedback from three stakeholder groups during the production process:
- Current Open University students: We want to create a module that is relevant to student needs and hope to get student input and feedback in a range of areas, including module content, assessment and employment-relevant knowledge and skills;
- Mental health and counselling employers: We hope to recruit employers and subject experts in a range of areas to get their input regarding knowledge, key skills and personal qualities that are needed by people who work in mental health and counselling;
- Subject experts and mental health service uses: We are planning to use a service user panel to find out what counsellors need to know in order to be able to work respectfully and effectively with clients.
With the general framing/orientation of the module now established it feels like we can roll up our sleeves and get properly down to the details of the production work. The first big step in this process will be the two-day module team meeting we have at the end of January (two ‘away days’), with more time to discuss and mapping out module content and learning materials.