T-SPARC is a JISC funded project based at Birmingham City University which is focused upon ‘Technology-Supported Processes for Agile and Responsive Curricula’. The project bid was made in a response to a JISC call for projects under the heading of ‘Institutional Approaches to Curriculum Design’. The project is being run through the University’s Centre for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT).The project sits within the wider RoLEx initiative and has four core aims, they are:
• To inform programme design activity through the improved provision of relevant information to those stakeholders engaged in curriculum design.
• To redesign the ICT infrastructure which supports the workflow of curriculum design and programme approval processes.
• To develop and pilot mechanisms for supporting, through electronic means, course team discussion during their programme design activity.
• To develop and pilot the electronic representation of programmes and underpinning evidence for the purposes of approval.
As the focus of the T-SPARC Project is curriculm design, it touches upon a whole raft of University work-streams. Consequently, the core aims of the project are mainly being addressed through existing Univeristy processes and working groups; these include the:
• Learning and Teaching committee
• Working group for the redesign of the review and approval mechanisms
• Working group for the Learning Community Initiative (Student Engagement)
• RoLEx (Redesign Of the Learning Experience) Project Board
The T-SPARC project can only be successful if it delivers outputs which are relevant and useful to our stakeholders. To that end, much of the project work will be focussed upon working with all those involved in curriculum design and through collaborative activity, designing new systems to meet their needs.
The aim of T-SPARC is to complement the institution-wide RoLEx (Redesign of the learning experience) initiative which aims to the delivery of enhancements in student learning. Our philosophical position is that better design leads to better courses; and that better design is achievable through the enhancement of our institutional approaches to curriculum design and the associated approval mechanisms. T-SPARC will deliver an information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure that will facilitate greater levels of dialogue between stakeholders in curriculum design; more authentic and transparent representation of the courses (and their underpinning rationale) for the purposes of approval; more streamlined end-to-end workflow for the creation and distribution of the documentary artefacts which support and describe courses and their design; and most importantly, the development of technology to support enhanced discourse between stakeholders as part of the curriculum design process. One of the innovations of the project is to employ technology to enrich the quality process by hosting multimedia for the purposes of programme approval and thus help support the capture of curriculum design processes rather than just text based descriptions of the results and outputs of curriculum design.