The UG-Flex project manager took part in a fascinating Illuminate session on 9 June led by members of the ‘Viewpoints’ project team from the University of Ulster.
Viewpoints is seeking to develop a series of user-friendly reflective tools for staff that will embed a learner-centred approach to curriculum design based on best practice principles.
I was interested to hear how the project started out by running a series of development workshop sessions initially intended as a rapid prototyping approach to developing tool requirements. These have proved so effective that the intention is to continue to develop the workshop format and use the online tool to support the face-to-face work.
The workshops are short and sweet (1 – 2 hours) and use best practice resources to help practitioners reflect on and develop their curricula. Information is organised into topics and issues and actions recorded on a large laminate sheet. The plan is to develop an online tool that mirrors this approach, using drop down menus etc. (Balsamiq was cited as a useful piece of software that they have been using).
The project team shared feedback from staff that indicates there are opportunities to use Viewpoints's approach and tools to support academic development for new and existing staff; team building and collaboration and also as a non-threatening way to support course review processes. Challenges were cited in the way ideas developed at workshops were recorded and the current limitations they had found in using the tool to support the development of new courses. (They found that new courses were usually already partially developed by the time they reach the initial validation phase.)
Clearly the Viewpoints project is taking a very different approach to enhancing curriculum design compared to the UG-Flex project. And yet, what we have found at Greenwich is that our focus on improving our systems and business process in order to support more flexible curriculum design has helped to raise expectations about the quality of support and help staff should receive when they develop or review the content of their programmes. In this respect the work the Viewpoints project team has done so far is illuminating and potentially incredibly useful and I look forward to sharing it with my colleagues from the Educational Development Team and Learning & Quality Unit at our ‘Curriculum Development’ Away Day at Hever Castle in July.
For more on the Viewpoints Project go to:
https://www.slideshare.net/viewpoints; http://www.youtube.com/viewpointsproject; http://viewpointsproject.blogspot.com/; http://jisccdd.jiscinvolve.org/