Findings and Observations
Drivers for Design
Staff reported that drivers for design often originated from workplace settings, whether this was for the design of a new course or for the iteration of an existing one. There was a sense that the starting point was a consideration of the types of skills which might be required by our students when they enter post-university employment.
- “What do we want the people to be able to do at the end of the day… …it is almost like starting at the end,because that’s where we want them to be, so how are we going to get them there?”
One interviewee reported that the changing tools available to academics, particularly e-learning tools may offer new opportunities which could only be fully exploited with a wholesale change in curriculum design.
- “A new delivery mechanism can change a design totally… …so new technologies in particular can drive the design process”
Another interviewee described how the success of a particular programme may lead the development of a related course which might address the needs of the emergent market.
- “We were having 400 applications for Music Tech and 30 places and it seemed silly to be turning these students away, so we thought – how can we deliver something that appeals to students who are applying to that but also has its own unique identity”
There was a sense that programme design needn’t be confined to those opportunities afforded by periodic review; rather programme design should be seen as an ongoing iterative process. Some interviewees indicated that they utilised the University’s Minor Change mechanism to effectively do just that.
- “We would make the most of the minor changes programme, so for me rather than having a course approval and running that course, it was a course approval where we’d already started to plan out how we were going to use the minor changes programme to develop the course further”