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CDIs: A team-based approach to designing technology-enriched programmes



Presentation for a Curriculum Colloquium organised by the Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching and Learning (CHERTL) at Rhodes University, South Africa....

Presentation for a Curriculum Colloquium organised by the Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching and Learning (CHERTL) at Rhodes University, South Africa.
Explains the CDI curriculum development process and an evaluation of it.



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  • So the question I was asked to talk to is “what institution-wide processes need to be addressed for effective curriculum design?” To start with I should say the something about where I’m coming from this presentation. I’m not going to try to offer anything like definitive answers to that question. I apologise for the fact that my view is limited. As you can see from the slide, I am coming at this from very much an HE perspective; and at that from the viewpoint of an educational developer. As you can see, I have for several years been working on the learner experiences of the learning project, e-learning strategy, research and evaluation work at Oxford Brookes, including specific efforts to make any impact on course design and development. So my rather ill formed ideas are offered really as an attempt to seed further discussion on the question.
  • First something about our efforts to make an impact on e-learning curriculum design at Oxford Brookes. I’ll try to let the pictures tell the story. What you can see is an example of what we call the course redesign intensives. You can see several course teams, together with their school learning technologist, e-learning specialist educational developers, and course administrators, working intensively over 2 or 3 days to design and build e-learning elements for their course. You can see a list of our aims for these events. These are aims to change business-as-usual curriculum design.
  • In these pictures you can see explicit designs that are displayed in order to be interrogated, challenged, shared and iteratively amended to perfection. This inevitably involves building at the same time -- building, revising, building, revising, building etc. Teachers tend to validate new practices by enacting them (Eraut) Designing in iterative cycles through high level programme considerations, to module level to session and activity level. Our annual review and periodic review and validation processes tend -- it’s not inevitable but it is a strong tendency -- to separate designing at each of these levels and to separate designing and building as processes.
  • In this picture you can see a curriculum team presenting one of their activity designs to critical friends. This peer review process seems to be a way to harness creativity and to gather experience and exemplars so as to create better designs. Another part of this process is having suitable places to work in teams. What the picture does not show is student involvement in the design process. That seems like a big gap to me. One way to plug that gap is to ensure that the design and development process has a strong requirement to actively seek student experience of the newly designed programme, especially over the first few years of its run. I don’t mean the usual happy sheets. I mean qualitative, mixed method student experience evaluation and subsequent redesign of the course based on it. A key finding of the study you can see on the slide gave this as as a success factor for sustainable, transformative curriculum design.

CDIs: A team-based approach to designing technology-enriched programmes CDIs: A team-based approach to designing technology-enriched programmes Presentation Transcript

  • CDIs: A team-based curriculum development approach Dr Greg Benfield Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development Oxford Brookes University Rhodes University, South Africa, Curriculum Colloquium 17 Nov 2010
  • Overview of this session
    • Part 1:
    • CDIs: where they come from, aims and intent, what happens in them
    • Questions and discussion
    • Part 2:
    • Evaluation: method, findings (what seems to work)
    • Challenges: evolution of the approach, ‘transferability’
    • Questions and discussion
  • Background
    • Educational development and e-Learning strategy development (Oxford Brookes University)
    • JISC Learner Experiences of e-Learning Synthesis and Support Project ( http://mw.brookes.ac.uk/display/JISCle2/Home )
    • Higher Education Academy Pathfinder Student Experience of E-Learning at Oxford Brookes Project ( http://mw.brookes.ac.uk/display/GR001/Evaluation )
  • Course Redesign Intensives
    • encourage multi-professional, curriculum design teams
    • focus resources on high impact developments
    • speed up development times
    • cascade e-learning design expertise into academic schools (Benfield 2008)
  • CDI processes elsewhere
    • Higher Education Academy Pathfinder Course Design projects
      • CHEETAH, University of Leicester
      • Cable Transfer, University of Hertfordshire
    • HEA Pathfinder CDIs for University of Brighton
    • Also,
    • Gilly Salmon’s Carpe Diem (Salmon et al 2008)
    • Higher Education Academy’s Change Academy
  • CDI Principles
    • Working in extended teams (typically including learning technologist, educational developer, subject librarian, etc)
    • Challenging assumptions about the curriculum (confrontation, exposure to ‘better, alternative conceptions’ (Ho 2000))
    • Building and iteratively improving designs using peer review (Teachers tend to validate new approaches by adopting them (Eraut 1994)
  • The CDI process
  • Online CDI resources (via Brookes wiki)
    • Downloadable:
    • Presentations
    • Handouts
    • Planners
    • Checklists
    • Frameworks
    • Any questions or discussion about the CDI process?
  • Evaluating the CDIs*
    • 3 framing questions:
    • what pre-requisites are required for individuals, groups and/or institutions to gain benefit from the CDIs?
    • what activities and/or elements are most effective in the CDI process?
    • what are the main indicators of success of the CDIs?
    • *See Dempter (2008)
  • Data and analysis
    • 5 years of CDI workshop data
    • reports
    • workshop feedback
    • images captured in workshops
    • representations of designs
    • and
    • in-depth interviews (9 CDI participants across 6 programme teams)
    • Analysis:
    • inductive, interpretative, themes, categories
    • insights and ways to improve practice
  • Scope of the CDIs
    • At the time of our evaluation:
    • 200+ staff, 35 course teams, 3 institutions have attended CDIs since Dec 2003 (Approximately 70 of these, representing around 15 course teams, were not Oxford Brookes)
    • Typical examples include
      • whole school of Health and Social Care to high level engagement in e-Learning in 1 year
      • Fully online MA School of Built Environment)
    • Since then over 200 Brookes staff in CDIs for assessment redesign, plus smaller numbers for e-learning
  • Factors influencing participation
    • Management imperative (e.g. new or renewed courses to address financial pressure, modernisation, new recruitment patterns, new markets, etc)
    • Personal and professional development (learn new skills, look at different approaches, address educational problems like workload)
  • Effective activities in CDIs
    • Allocating resources to curriculum planning (time to plan, expertise on hand, license to innovate)
    • CDI design and facilitation (new ideas, expertise, ‘ time to play and try things out’, concrete objectives)
    • Sharing ideas (sharing practice and debating ideas, re-examining core purposes and approaches, critical friends)
  • Designing… … & building is integral
  • Critical friends
    • “ I think the idea of us having to explain our proposal to other people and defend it, and deal with their comments, that was useful.”
  • Peer review (critical friends) promoting iterative design & development utilising peer and student feedback (Sharpe et al 2006) Sharpe, R., Benfield, G., Roberts, G. and Francis, R. (2006). "The undergraduate experience of blended e-learning: a review of UK literature and practice undertaken for the Higher Education Academy." [Online] Retrieved 3 October, from http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/York/documents/ourwork/research/literature_reviews/blended_elearning_full_review.pdf
  • Perceptions of success
    • Tangible deliverables (validation documents, exemplar learning activities, etc)
    • Confidence and ownership (“ probably the buy in from staff and that staff have kind of been empowered ”)
    • Conceptual change (“ I went in thinking I don’t want to this really, I haven’t got the skills, coming away thinking this will be good, this is going to be a good way for students to learn ”)
  • Perceptions of success (2)
    • Building networks ( “ The workshops allowed teams of staff to attend from different schools across the University and this was supportive and stimulating … and to get a bigger picture of what was happening. ”)
  • Challenges
    • Time
      • to involve multi-professional teams
      • involve e-Learning/educational experts
      • Evaluate (especially the student experience)
    • ‘ Experts’ willing to share
    • Iterative, evidence-informed redesign that actively uses peer and learner feedback
    • Management buy-in
    • Working at programme level
    • Licence to innovate
    • Transferability?
    • External environment
  • https://mw.brookes.ac.uk/display/CDIs/
  • References
    • Benfield, G. (2008a). ‘e-Learning Course Design Intensives: disrupting the norms of curriculum design’. Educational Developments (9.4), pp 20-22.
    • Dempster, J. (2008). 'External Evaluation for Oxford Brookes Course Design Intensives (CDIs).' [Online] Retrieved 6 November 2008, from https://mw.brookes.ac.uk/display/CDIs/CDI+Evaluation .
    • Eraut, M. (1994). Developing professional knowledge and competence . London, Routledge.
    • Ho, A. S. P. (2000). ‘A conceptual change approach to staff development: A model for programme design’. International Journal for Academic Development 5 (1).
    • Salmon, G., Jones, S. & Armellini, A. (2008). ‘ Building Institutional Capability in E-learning Design’, ALT-J 16 (2), pp. 95-109.