Course 4, Week 1: Reviewing your Curriculum Journey

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Strategic approval: this approval is a ‘check to ensure the proposed development aligns with the Group’s strategic portfolio’
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 items have been summarised on FutureLearn:

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.

See you later!

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