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The distributed development of quality courses for a virtual university Claire Bradley and Dr Tom Boyle Dr Martin Oliver University College London Learning.

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Presentation on theme: "The distributed development of quality courses for a virtual university Claire Bradley and Dr Tom Boyle Dr Martin Oliver University College London Learning."— Presentation transcript:

1 The distributed development of quality courses for a virtual university Claire Bradley and Dr Tom Boyle Dr Martin Oliver University College London Learning Technology Research Institute

2 Overview l An introduction to TISCAM (Training for Innovative Supply Chain Management) –Aims of TISCAM –Groups within TISCAM –What the learners are like l The quality systems for TISCAM l An example l Revisions to the model and wider implications

3 Aims of TISCAM l To create a masters-level course in supply chain management l To provide action-based learning for learners in the workplace l To create the infrastructure for an online university l To implement the infrastructure and materials l To deliver the materials to learners across the UK (and even beyond)

4 Authors in TISCAM l Required to write the materials, design the learning activities, identify or produce case studies etc. l Chosen for their academic reputation; “content” experts l Based at universities across the UK and in Europe (means that distributed systems are needed for authoring) l Almost none have written for online courses; few have any experience of developing distance courses

5 Learners in TISCAM l Study in the workplace (i.e. adult learners with many demands on their time) l Require “bite size” materials that can be combined in coherent pathways l Must have obvious vocational relevance and be academically credible

6 Learner support in TISCAM l Tutors (online advice, guidance, marking - content experts) l In-company mentors (helping learners complete work- based activities) l Regional facilitators (general advice on choice of courses, studying, etc.)

7 Other teams in TISCAM l Management team (co-ordination, scheduling, etc.) l Technical team (implementation of system and materials, advice to authors) –expertise in translating material into online multimedia l Learner support systems (design of guidelines, processes and pedagogic review of materials) –experts in curriculum design and online learning

8 A diagram of the authoring process AuthorAcademic editing Pedagogic review Technical review Peer review Technical implementation

9 What’s in the authoring guidelines? l A profile of the learners l Overview of the learner support systems l Authoring for an online environment; hints and tips l Notes on writing and submitting draft materials l Acceptable formats for submission l How to structure a unit to fit the web model l Feedback forms, specifying review criteria l Unit template form (“planning” documents, e.g. Aims, objectives, learning outcomes...)

10 What happens in the editorial review? l Check the content meets academic criteria: –Accuracy of content –Mapping of content covered in unit –Complementarity and overlap with other modules and units

11 What happens in the pedagogic review? l Check that the content meets pedagogic criteria: –Learning objectives are stated and can be achieved –Good balance of learner activities, discussion, etc. –Appropriate length –Sufficient case studies and other related materials –Realistic requirements for learner support –Good use of language

12 Example: submitted material l Heavily text-based, requiring a lot of on-screen reading l Few opportunities for learner interaction and engagement with the materials were incorporated l The 3 activities required learners to read additional material from a text book, and produce written reports l No self-assessment activities and no feedback to activities l Too much tutor support, no mentor involvement suggested l No unit summary or review A unit from the management strategy module The content was academically sound, but as distance learning material and for online delivery it was poor

13 Example: recommended revisions l Cut down the amount of written content and reading material l Increase the number of activities, and place them at more frequent intervals throughout the material l Include some self-assessment activities to actively involve learner’s and for them to check their understanding l Introduce some form of feedback for activities where possible, e.g. example answers, discussion with mentor l Review unit support l Include some case study material to enrich the content l Produce a summary section

14 Example: illustration of material l The amount of material was substantially cut down and was divided into more, shorter sections which would be more manageable for learners to study l Activities were re-designed - additional reading and written reports were minimised, and more self-assessment activities with online feedback were developed l The result was a much more interesting, and effective distance learning unit, which would translate well into the online system The author revised the unit according to many of the suggestions made:

15 Examples of online material Tabs along the top allow navigation to section components: content related material case studies activities community student services Module, unit, section orientation Materials load into the window

16 Graphics are interactive and build up in animated sequences where possible

17 Activities allow responses to be submitted to the system via text entry fields or file submission. Responses are added to the learner’s portfolio.

18 Revisions to the model l Time constraints shortened the process; several steps had to happen in parallel l The pedagogic review incorporated technical advice and copy editing l There were delays putting materials online –This prevented people seeing good examples and learning what can be done –Each revision to the system had implications for the reviewers –Late release of the “web model” meant some authors needed to revise the structure of their units

19 The revised authoring process AuthorAcademic editing Pedagogic and technical review Technical implementation Author’s meetings

20 Conclusions l Essentially the right model –Didn’t need to re-skill academics (e.g. programming); the teams covered all the important aspects –Consistent, polished results –The materials that make it through are good! l We had to adapt it for pragmatic reasons –Doing it “properly” is time consuming; this may make the full quality system impractical –Authors have to learn to do more than write hand-outs for the web

21 Conclusions l (Adaptations continued...) –Materials can’t be written without understanding the support structures available –Helping authors learn involves examples, a stable web model, individual discussions and support, room to make mistakes, etc. l The time scale is huge - it takes years to do this well l The time required and range of expertise makes it extremely expensive - quality doesn’t come cheap!

22 Contact details l Martin Oliver Higher Education Research and Development Unit, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, WC1E 6BT l Claire Bradley Learning Technology Research Institute, University of North London, Holloway Road, N7 6PP l Tom Boyle Learning Technology Research Institute, University of North London, Holloway Road, N7 6PP l TISCAM online materials:


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