How can we (safely!) enhance the quality of learning and teaching in HE, while taking risks by deploying innovative (and often unexpected) approaches? At Northampton, we have addressed the issue in a number of ways, which boil down to the following mutually reinforcing strands:
– Criteria and templates, including design targets for NILE (our Blackboard VLE)(Figure 1) and templates to help course teams design and structure appealing online modules easily, flexibly and consistently.
– Support & interventions, including the CAIeRO designing for learning process (based on the Carpe Diem approach) and the Collaborative Learning Experiences Online (CLEO) workshop, in which participants are online learners for a day. All interventions are part of Northampton’s CPD framework, called C@N-DO: Changemaking at Northampton: Development Opportunities. Additional support and guidance is regularly offered by the Learning Technology team.
– Evidence, coming out of quality audits conducted within each school, and learning analytics, obtained from NILE usage.
(click on the figure to enlarge it)
This approach enables us to focus on enhancement, but it also provides a safe environment to take risks and pilot new approaches in consultation with course teams across disciplines. If successful, ideas are transferred and adapted to meet the requirements of other courses. The journey continues!
Professor Alejandro Armellini
Institute of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
University of Northampton