Implementation of an Institutional inclusive approach to blended/online course design

    Project: Non-funded project

    Project Details

    Description

    We championed, led and embedded the development of an institutional, inclusive approach to blended and online course (re)design at Strathclyde. Our work predates the pandemic and responds to the changing needs we saw for course (re)design at a time when the key driver was the push toward blended learning models. Our aim was to ensure the highest quality student experience through the provision of well-designed, evidence-based blended/online classes. We adopted an evidence-informed approach to drive change, championing an 'inclusive approach'. Our vision synthesized a number of key concepts and built on existing toolkits to create a holistic framework for the (re)design of blended and online learning through meaningful collaboration of a co-creative group of stakeholders including student representatives, programme leaders, learning technologists, programme administrators, and other staff as appropriate. In taking action we recognized the challenge presented by Doug Parkin who maintains that leadership in L&T must commit to sector-transformation.

    We initiated a series of workshops in late 2019 aimed at upskilling staff as part of a bold re-design of the university's flagship MBA programme. This enabled us to pilot the approach and create a series of resources, activities and support structures. Early impact led to a successful bid for an Advance HE Good Practice Grant (2020) to evaluate and disseminate learning from the approach, including production of a toolkit. We designed the outputs to facilitate dissemination of the learning, enabling replication and encouraging ongoing collaboration with colleagues in other HEIs to develop the approach further, with the emphasis on creating well-designed, evidence-based, constructively-aligned, student experiences. The toolkit includes an infographic, a video, a podcast, and workshop resources, and has extended our reach into the HE sector.

    As a direct consequence of our leadership and its impact, when the pandemic hit, the University was better ready to support staff in pivoting classes to online/blended formats. We initiated workshop engagement with staff institution-wide, targeting course and programme leaders, supporting them so they could effect change for their students. In excess of 350 staff engaged.

    Drawing on Kneale et al.’s evaluation toolkit we led the initiative’s evaluation. Data gathered reflected the positive impact of the workshops on staff confidence and motivation, providing evidence of strengthened peer relationships and academic skills development. Institutionally, we collaborated with Education Enhancement staff and lobbied the Strathclyde Online Learning (SOL) Committee to adopt the approach as the institutional framework for all programmes, ensuring a consistent institutional approach and an outstanding student experience. This was agreed and the approach is now being implemented across the institution.

    “… I was able to adapt the design and delivery of my own modules … and I held training sessions for my departmental colleagues to share what I had learned. … My colleagues and I were able to prepare for the Covid-adapted new academic year in a more intentional and systematic way, which was very positively received by students and feedback to the department via SSLCs and end of module evaluations.”
    Programme Leader

    StatusActive
    Effective start/end date4/11/19 → …

    Keywords

    • Course design
    • Inclusivity
    • Blended learning
    • Online learning
    • Learning technology