This last week of the course tied in very well with the f2f session last week, which aimed to prepare groups for the panel.
The final course released 1st July was (thankfully) only one week, which worked out well with the group submission deadline on the 5th July. I have just been able to complete the course, with time to make some last minute adjustments to the submissions.
The two submissions are the two templates, which needed to be completed as a group, for a formative CDAR practice panel presentation on 17th July. By submitting the completed files earlier, teams can then review the submissions of the assigned group, in preparation for also imitating a panel.
This week’s course seemed to focus on boosting the confidence of the students on the PGCAPHE that have not yet taken part in a CDAR panel before. As always, I will detail the important aspects of this week’s learning and my views/interactions.
Quality Assurance v Quality Enhancement
I feel like quality assurance has been mentioned often during this module, but the actual definition and process has been rather vague. Introducing definitions of the term from Harvey (cited in Williams, 2016) and setting this into the context of our practice at Coventry was really useful.
The examples of QA at Coventry included CQEM (Course Quality Enhancement and Monitoring) and the CDAR processes, which we are working within for the group project. Knowing these processes are part of QA improved my understanding of our QA processes and regularity of QA.
Quality Enhancement, a term used less frequently, is then introduced – it’s really a ‘what is says on the tin’ definition, but again when comparing to Quality Assurance, questions begin to open up on how they work together.
As mentioned on FutureLearn, QA can feel like a tick-box exercise, but as proposed by Elassy (2015), enhancement is dependent on QA. We can see this at Coventry, where CQEMs are used to identify good practice and areas to improve. CQEMs often invite professional staff into the process and course teams often collaborate, all in order to reach QE.
Interestingly, peers were able to present experiences when QA and QE are linked, but also where QA processes have not been supportive of QE, as well as examples of where QA processes are not representative of the true course experience:
The CDAR process
This was an interesting learning process, as it has not previously been clear how the CDAR process was developed, which is useful when producing group work towards a CDAR panel.
The Coventry CDAR Panel process has been improved recently and complements the guidance and expectations set our the Quality Assurance Agency’s UK Quality Code for Higher Education. This video, which gives an overview of the Quality Code, is a useful introduction.
Course teams are then advised to refer to the QAA Subject Benchmark statements and make use of internal resources (DMLL, Registry, Group Quality Unit, IO, etc.) external resources (employers, external examiners, alumni and professional bodies).
The actual CDAR process has 5 stages:
Course development request: the form for this contains course basics (i.e. title, date, purpose), as well as market analysis, resources, costs, IO feedback, rationale, etc.
Strategic approval: this approval is a ‘check to ensure the proposed development aligns with the Group’s strategic portfolio’
Course development: this is the stage that the assignments for M09 have been focussed upon. The stage focusses on the development of the course including the student expereince, course learning outcomes, teachng and learning strategy, and assessment strategy.
Faculty approval: The FRAP (Faculty Review and Approval Panel) is the panel the group project is working towards, our oppurtunity to present to a panel our course design from Stage 3. The panel will give feedback on the submitted documents, and where needed, make recommendations.
Approval and review control: This is where the course is checked and signed off on approvals and reviews.
CDAR on the day
In preparation for the day, the face-to-face session last week covered the agenda and minutes of previous CDAR panels. One of which can be found below.
The FutureLearn course grew on the f2f sessions and included the perspectives of Course Directors that have gone through the process, as well as participated as reviewing panel members. I made some comments on how these were beneficial to my learning:
Reflection on the week
This week really helped me understand the nitty-gritty details of developing a new course or improving a current course. For me, understanding the processes and procedures helps with understanding how to formulate responses and in this case the final project submissions.
I also appreciated the reflections from Course Directors, which mellowed any fears of the panel presentations and questions.
Review of the module
There will, of course, be a full reflective assignment where I can discuss the group project and relate to theory and practice.
Of the module, it has been the most insightful but the heaviest to manage. The assignments grew dramatically and the group work did not work so well when staff members are so spread across different subjects and locations. Yes, it did allow us to showcase excellent communication skills, but when each member of the team is also juggling different responsibilities with full-time work, such as marking, it is hard for a team to work effectively as one unit.
In addition, 2 x 1500 words is a little much when accounting for the time and research the group project demanded. I’m just glad one of the 1500 assignments is pass/fail as part of this portfolio (not much, but a little less pressure).
Review of the course
From reading my very informal weekly blogs (or mind-dumps), which I use to refer back to for assignments, it’s clear there have been ups and downs with my experience in this course, but overall I feel more confident in my abilities.
There we go! The FutureLearn module is complete and that brings an end to the online course.
Yet to go is the CDAR panel presentations, which will be used to inform the final reflective assignments.
Thank you to anyone reading (a long slog of drivle, I’m sure). This is me signing-off the weekly reflections now. A few more posts will come, but nothing related to FutureLearn.
Developing the Personal Tutoring Programme has been at time difficult, arduous, exciting and enlightening . Yet soon, I will be leaving the Personal Tutoring path for pastures new and the Coventry Awards last night was the best way to bring an end to my Coventry University London/Personal Tutoring journey.
I am delighted to share that the dedication and hard work of my team, and wider department, led us to win the Coventry Awards for Student Support Initiative of the Year.
In October 2017, whilst managing the enrolment event, I had two short weeks to develop the Personal Tutoring programme single-handedly (albeit with guidance and support from the Head of Student Engagement).
My team, department and I have come so far since those two stressful weeks and created a holistic service, which offer guidance, support and skills development to our diverse cohort. Within a 2.5 member team, we have been able to succeed using the bare minimum, from developing a full inter-relational database using SharePoint to a range of face-to-face and online, engaging, active and interesting study and pastoral skills workshops.
The pride I feel in my team is overwhelming and to seeing our efforts recognised in the annual Coventry Awards was fantastic.
For our original nominations, check out our Sways here and here.
A small library of photos from the night can also be found below:
Last week, the course learning was focussed upon methods to improve practices for inclusivity and promote students sense of belonging in HE. A clear path has been made taking us to week 2 and a focus on skills to access education and employment, as well as sustainability within the curriculum.
We are introduced to the prospect of future-proofing course design, by planning and intergating more than just knowledge and skills into the curriculum, with the aim of preparing students for an ‘unknown future’.
This proposition is based upon the constant changes in society, technlogical developments, uncertainty in employment, etc. A late modern view on course design.
I like the introduction of Barnett’s (2004) suggestion to develop 6 dispositions and A long-list of qualities in students, which prepare students for short-term and long-term change.
The following two UCL:IoE PowerPoints were very informative and useful to gaining a better understanding. I used these to reflect on my experiences in HE and the group project.
Personally, I would not disassociate the development of skills from dispositions and qualities. I feel that developing one would develop the other, but I can understand the need to dig deeper on areas to focus on that can improve students future journeys into further study or the world of work.
The debate between employability was unexpected but very insightful. I believe embedding opportunities to develop employability skills is a key responsibility of every HEI and Course team. HE has now moved away from an institution where the few attend and the motives are based upon a thirst for knowledge. Now, students motives vary but a major consideration for many is employment opportunities upon completion, as indicated by the International Student Survey 2017.
FutureLearn provides the view of McCowan (2015; 281), who states ‘the employability “agenda” should not be promoted to the extent that it undermines the core function of the university in fostering understanding’. I understand and agree with this perspective; although employability and opportunities for professional and personal development should be consistently embedded as part of the course design, it should not overtake from the purpose of the course which is a focus upon subject knowledge. For this reason, I do not agree with the statement ‘Active learning, innovation, creativity, adaptation, ideation and emotional intelligence’ (WEF 2018: 12) will be more important than subject-specific knowledge. Although, I also see how subject-specific knowledge does not always translate to employment, as mentioned in my online comment:
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) go above and beyond recycling schemes. SDGs should be set in accordance with current events and relevance to course, but as mentioned above, are not limited to environmental sustainability. The ability to apply ESD to issues surrounding poverty was enlightening. Even more, I would not have considered the example of free technology or software as an SDG.
These two sources have given me a few ideas to begin work on in future teaching:
From a Citizenship teacher point of view, I believe integrating a global perspective is not only important for an inclusive teaching environment, but also for promoting tolerance and acceptance. By understanding differences in cultures through subject-study, students can better engage with peers around them and the wider society.
The top 3 suggestions for intergrating a global approach I’ve taken from the course this week include:
Consider with sensitivity the effect of our actions on others locally and globally, both now and in the future
Examples of integrating a global approach were offered and I offered my thoughts on two subject areas:
Barnett and Coate (2005) propose 3 interelated dimensions of curriculum which trasnform and develop a students future.
Being sounds like an easy enough concept and something that should not be too hard to consider, however when attempting to manage a great deal of subject-content, this can become overwhelming. Taking responsibility for Acting and Being may also feel daunting, a reminder that the HE experience will impact upon each student’s individual journey thereafter.
To manage these feelings (and workload) the course suggests the use of ‘threshold concepts‘, which emerged from research led by Meyer and Land (2003). These threshold concepts share five characteristics:
FutureLearn summarises methods for how these threshold concepts can influence curriculum design through Cousin (2006):
Review of the week
I’ve found this week, the information was best presented through FutureLearn screenshots, which have offered summaries of new concepts and research.
I feel like this was a very content heavy week that has been squeezed into 12 steps rather than spaced out. I will definately need to make time to review the content and materials again to ensure I can apply understanding in the future.
Moving forward, the most important learning aspect of this week’s course was Barnett’s dispositions and qualities. This breakaway from skills and content, looking more at the student from a holistic perspective, considering future employment opportunities was very important.
I also found the global perspective to education an important reminder for all staff. I have seen teaching practice that relies upon a diverse cohort to input a global perspective, whereas this should be a consideration of the course team and teacher. I was happy to engage in Coventry’s inclusive approach, using the content as a reminder of global learning opportunities to be included in our group project.
This week’s learning was focussed around inclusivity, which was interetsing and insightful. The focus on inclusivity was important for my group project, as my team and I are developing our course design around inclusive practice.
When introducing the course, language is the first topic tackled. This is one of the more prominent barriers to learning at Coventry University London, with 70%+ international students with English as an Additional Language (EAL). Here, we are advised to use language to faculties feelings on inclusion, avoiding local or cultural expressions, such as ‘break a leg’. Not only should such language be avoided due to confusions with the contextual understanding between different cultures, but also to be inclusive of people with disabilities, who cannot understand idioms.
Inclusivity and learning for all
It is clear that there are continued attainment gaps between different societal groups, which occur due to a number of reasons. As stated by the Office for Students (OfS), Higher Education Institutions should ensure that students, no matter what background are able to participate in a fulfilling experience, which enriches their lives and careers. The OfS, who is an independent regulator of higher education in England has published the below (Strategic objectives can also be found here):
What I found very useful for our group project was the specifc group identified as more likley to … from the attainment gap. These groups are what my team and I specifically noted should be included as part of the content for our first PGDip module. By opening up the discussion on inclusiivty and the attainment gap in M09, our module will work as a fantatsic transition from PGCert to PGDip and higher levels of learning and specialisms. The groups are:
Low socio-economic background
Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME)
Gaps not included on FutureLearn, but to be considered for the group project modules include gender, sexuality, religion, etc.
Interesting comments and reflections were provided here:
An area I often consider when designing lessons is the use of student-led teaching practice and allowing flexibility in teaching. However, the practice of ‘cocreation’ really hit me as something that would be hard to actively allow participation from a course/module perspective. How can a full module or course experience by co-created to fit each group or cohort? Of course, authentic assessment, student-led teaching methods and other practices can be used, but does this fit the bill for cocreation?
Using the Course Quality Enhancement and Monitoring (CQEM) process was recommended as a good starting point in reviewing and updating curricula to more inclusive design. By using data on student groups, completion rates, graduate outcomes, etc. course teams can begin to identify the attainment gaps.
A second method to review modules and course inclusiveness has been developed by Kingston University. The video provided here is a good breakdown, with all supporting files here. I really liked this method, as it provides more structure for reviewing actions completed and adding ideas to move forward under important T&L aspects: concept, content, learning & teaching, assessment, feedback, review. In reference to my course design, I added this comment:
The wider community and a sense of belonging
In every university, the Course Team will play an instrumental role in creating an inclusive education. However, as noted on FutureLearn, many student services will play a significant role in accessing education and reducing the attainment gap, including departments such as: Registry, Students’ Union, Library, Learning enhancement team. In addition, departments that continue the professional development of staff are important for continued course developments for student and staff benefit.
In addition to considering these services from the perspective of teaching and learning inclusivity, all departments play a role in creating a sense of community and identity. See the below screenshot taken the below from FutureLearn:
As part of my current role, I lead on engagement events to promote a sense of shared community and identity. This has involved long-thin inductions, as well as social events and connecting with the local community. I have enjoyed these opportunities, using student feedback to improve student engagement events to promote a sense of belonging and improve retention rates. It would be great to see what I run for students at the start of each enrolment is taken on and embedded further into the curriculum, rather than a bolt-on.
From a students perspective (as seen on the FutureLearn video), students feel more included when all of our learning from the PGCAPHE is accounted for, for example using student-led teaching, working as part of a greater HE community, authentic assessments, etc. The more we, as educators, give to our course design and supporting our students learning experience as well as professional and personal development, the more our students will engage and achieve.
Review of the week
I feel this week could have been split into two, taking a deeper look at each societal group and specific causes for the attainment gap. However, I will continue to develop my knowledge independently, using what I have learnt from my Sociology BSc and MA.
The most challenging points for me were around active co-creation of content. I will use the sources provided to me by the Module Leader to develop ideas on co-creation, which I can apply in my teaching roles.
Moving forward, my team and I will need to review our course design so far and make adjustments to ensure our Inclusivity theme is truly covered, with plenty of opportunities to role model and showcase how inclusive learning can be embedded into the curriculum.
A1 Design and plan learning activities and/or programmes of study
– I have designed Personal Tutoring online workshops, which are engaging and include assessments for tracking student progression. – I have re-designed postgraduate group sessions according to student and staff feedback. – I have planned and created videos to train staff.
A2 Teach and/or support learning
– I have supported staff designing new courses on how to use and implement Coventry.Domains as a teaching tool. – I have taught Personal Tutoring group sessions and workshops over the year, as well as supported with skills induction session that I designed.
A3 Assess and give feedback to learners
– I have engaged with different methods to offer students formative feedback in-person and online. – Students who have completed online workshops, with assessment, receive online certificates to download. – I have worked with students on developing progression by developing upon academic feedback given on summative work.
A4 Develop effective learning environments and approaches to student support and guidance
– I have worked on creating a new online learning environment, which is inclusive to all types of learners and is flexible to student levels. – I develop rapport with students and my classes to create a safe, engaging and effective learning environment.
A5 Engage in continuing professional development in subjects/disciplines and their pedagogy, incorporating research, scholarship and the evaluation of professional practices
– I have engaged with different areas of CPD to develop my overall teaching practice, including: o Conciliation training o Leadership and Mentoring Training – I have implemented feedback surveys for all teaching/service interactions, which are analysed and used to service development and improvement to professional practice. – I have applied pedagogical knowledge to developing a PGDip course as part of the PGCAPHE. I have also consulted with staff on course creation, using my pedagogical knowledge and SOTL.
– I have continued to improve my core knowledge of academic skills by working with the Spotlight team and investing in specialist textbooks, such as those produced by Stella Cottrell. – I have engaged in independent learning on academic study skills provision by comparing the teaching practices of key content to academic and employability teaching practices in embedded sessions. I have learnt how to be flexible with skills content to match the needs of course and/or level.
K2 Appropriate methods for teaching, learning and assessing in the subject area and at the level of the academic programme
– Assessing Personal Tutoring can be difficult as we teach skills compared to subject content. We use formative assessment which assesses by applying the skill or by reviewing key informative tips to implement the skill. – With the transfer to online learning, formative assessment is embedded into sessions and added to the end of each online workshop to assess the overall understanding of the content provided. As there are limitations to online assessment, a mixture of open answer, multiple choice, matching, sorting and other engaging assessment activities are used. Moodle allows tracking of final assessments to open the certificate download option. – Workshops have now been set into series, which increase the level of learning per session. – When working on embedded workshops, the course, module, stage and student cohort details have been used to ensure teaching, learning and assessment are pitched appropriately. – I have implemented my understanding of methods for teaching, learning and assessing to designing a PGDip as part of the PGCAPHE group project.
K3 How students learn, both generally and within their subject/disciplinary area(s)
– From the PGAPHE I have learnt that there are diverse needs dependent on the subject and disciplinary area. I recognize student value use of practical experience of the workplace related to their discipline and career aspirations. – I understand the important different skills have different ranked important by subject and discipline and therefore need to be embedded according to schedules that meet the needs of the module and course objective, as well as the student needs and expectations. – I recognize that theory is the basis of many subject areas and this foundation is important before practical implementation, however, students do not always connect learning to application. Methods to connect learning to create an academic journey for each student is important.
K4 The use and value of appropriate learning technologies
– Learning technology is increasingly important to keep pace with changes in society and learning needs. However, I recognize that learning technology is a tool to teaching, learning and assessment rather than a replacement to current best practices. – Learning technology is important for offering diversity in learning opportunities, pitching to students of different personal and professional needs. – Learning technology is extremely useful when designing and offering blended learning opportunities, using different applications or platforms to create different levels of challenge and engagement. – I have advised staff at Coventry University London on methods to design a course and module on the use of technology in business, with specific reference to the use of Coventry.Domains as a learning, teaching and assessment tool.
K5 Methods for evaluating the effectiveness of teaching
– I have found students are less likely actively engage in optional surveys for gathering student feedback without prompts. For this reason, surveys are an activity for students to complete online before completing each classroom workshops final conclusion and review. This has increased feedback for analysis to improve the teaching and learning method used per subject and level. – The completion rates of online learning are also good indicators for evaluating the effectiveness of online workshops. I know to target the content and teaching/learning style of workshops that have low completion rates and to look at methods used for workshops with high completion rates. – As many of the sessions I create are taught by others, staff feedback is also important for evaluating teaching practice with a focus on design. – Formative and summative assessment are key to evaluating the effectiveness of teaching, by analysing trends in marks and feedback given per cohort. In classroom settings, changes to teaching can be made according to formative feedback. From summative assessment, teaching can be reviewed for improving module objectives, teaching, learning and assessment methods. – Student’s informal feedback is extremely valuable, such as body language and engagement over a class/week/term.
K6 The implications of quality assurance and quality enhancement for academic and professional practice with a particular focus on teaching
– From designing a PGDip course as part of the PGCAPHE M09 module, I have a better understanding of the implications of quality insurance and enhancement. – I recognize that there are different shareholders involved in assurance and enhancement, which impact an overall module or course approach. For example, Registry imposes the policies, which are set in place. Funding for trips or experiences can be restricted. Placements for work experience opportunities need to be vetted for safety and as an effective learning environment.