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Representing and Supporting Curriculum Design at Task, Module and Programme Levels
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Representing and Supporting Curriculum Design at Task, Module and Programme Levels


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A summary of symposium 0061 at ALT-C on Thursday 10th September 2009

A summary of symposium 0061 at ALT-C on Thursday 10th September 2009

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  • 1. ALT-C 2009 symposium 0061 on Thursday 10th September 2009.
    Symposium summary :
    Representing and Supporting Curriculum Design at Task, Module and Programme Levels

    Recent years have seen a real interest in the challenge of how to support effective
    learning design. A useful overview of current Learning Design activities and associated
    tools and resources is provided by Lockyer et al. (2008), Beetham and Sharpe (2007),
    and McAndrew, Goodyear and Dalziel (2006). Yet, despite the growing number of
    learning design tools such as LAMS, the Pheobe Pedagogic Planner (phoebeproject., the London Pedagogy Planner ( and DialogPLUS
    (, repositories of case studies and exemplars, and standards and
    specifications, evidence of widespread uptake and adoption remains scattered and
    inconclusive. Indeed, as Falconer and Littlejohn (2007) note, to date few
    representations have succeeded in capturing the essence of a good piece of teaching
    and there remains a need to find representational forms which show design as dynamic
    processes, rather than static products.
    This innovative, interactive symposium is hosted by three projects funded under the
    JISC Institutional Approaches to Curriculum Design Programme. This Programme seeks
    to develop enhanced processes to improve the learner experience at multiple levels
    across the institution, from individual tasks within a module, to the whole programme
    of study. This work builds on previous curriculum design initiatives but seeks to
    transcend some of the limitations of previous work to develop processes and activities
    that will have a recognisably transformative effect on institutions.
    This symposium will explore the types of curriculum design representations that offer
    the most value to academics, support staff and students and examine the variety of
    purposes that curriculum design representations might serve in improving curriculum
    design activities in different institutional contexts.
    Beetham, H. & Sharpe, R. (2007) (Eds) Rethinking pedagogy for the digital age:
    designing and delivering e-learning. RoutledgeFalmer, London
    Falconer, I. & Littlejohn, A. (2007). Designing for blended learning, sharing and reuse.
    Journal of Further and Higher Education, 31 (1). 41-52.
    Lockyer, L., Bennett, S., Agostinho, S. and Harper, B. (Eds.) (2008). Handbook of
    Research on Learning patterns and institutional change, in Goodyear, P., and Retails,
    S., Design Patterns.
    McAndrew, P., Goodyear, P., & Dalziel, J., (2006). Patterns, designs and activities;
    unifying description of learning design structures. International Journal of Learning
    Technology, 2 (2/3), 216-242.
    The symposium commenced with a short introduction:
    Powerpoint intro:
    The introduction was followed by the opportunity for participants to view posters prepared by the 3 project teams and to provide comments/questions in response to the challenges/questions identified on the posters. Participants then selected a project for more in depth discussion with the project team around their poster. This was repeated for one of the other projects so that participants had the opportunity to discuss 2 of the 3 projects in more depth
    The posters can be viewed at:
    University of Strathclyde, PiP Principles in Patterns:
    University of Ulster, Viewpoints:
    University, OULDI (Open University Learning Design Initiative):
    The symposium encouraged lively debate and the questions/comments provided by the participants can be summarised under 5 themes
    • The need to shift from an emphasis on quality assurance to quality enhancement and that these projects offer considerable potential to enhance learning and teaching if they can be linked into University procedures to be used to support and encourage academic staff in course design and course review.
    • 2. The tools, methods and support offered by the projects can provide inspiration for staff to innovate in programme, course and task design but how do we persuade staff to engage? The discussion around this point was very much linked to point 1 above.
    • 3. How are students involved in these projects?
    • 4. How do the projects encourage collaboration? This is one of the main emphasis of the OULDI project.
    • 5. Comments about the potential of transferring project outcomes to other institutions and to other education sectors.
    The debate continued at the JISC learning and teaching practice experts group meeting, in Birmingham on 21st October 2009