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1 IT Tralee : Context Changing to Credit Based Modular Learning A Paradigm Shift? Dr. Noel Mulligan, Modularisation Project Manager Institute of Technology,

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Presentation on theme: "1 IT Tralee : Context Changing to Credit Based Modular Learning A Paradigm Shift? Dr. Noel Mulligan, Modularisation Project Manager Institute of Technology,"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 IT Tralee : Context Changing to Credit Based Modular Learning A Paradigm Shift? Dr. Noel Mulligan, Modularisation Project Manager Institute of Technology, Tralee. Accreditation and Assessment in Higher Education - The Emerging Scenario NUI, Maynooth, 25th January 2007

2 2 NOTE for Audience Handout of Presentation includes Visible Slides – bullet points Hidden Slides - notes

3 3 Credit Based Modular Learning – How much of a change? Education Super System Education Systems Institutions Academics Learners

4 4 Credit Based Modular Learning – How much of a change? Credit Based Modular Learning (or CBMS) implies a change in emphasis to Credits and Learning Is the move to Credit Based Modular Systems (CBMS) in Higher Education a realignment of provision or is it much more? Should it be a root and branch exercise designed to materially restructure Higher Education as experienced by learners? This is a question that has relevance for the European Education Area, Individual States, Institutions but most particularly for us as Academics that will have to implement necessary changes in education practices Any restructuring of Higher Education by individual Institutions, State Systems and at a Pan-European level should have ‘real’ benefits for Learners and be designed to meet the Bologna Objectives Learner perception and experience is paramount

5 5 What we are doing at IT Tralee Major Programmatic Review Modularisation/Semesterisation Restructuring Reconstructing Changing how we fulfil our Mission Challenging ourselves

6 6 What we are doing at IT Tralee Most Higher Education Institutions have already moved or are in the process of moving to CBMS with or without semesterisation. ITT is currently Modularising and is opting for Semesterised delivery This represents a significant change involving a conversion from Stage based to a Modular based structure It also involves at a minimum a restructuring of existing provision into a Modular Semesterised format It may extend to a root and branch dismembering and reconstruction of modules and programmes It definitely is going to (should) involve significant change in the way we do our business of teaching/educating for the benefit of Learners

7 7 Why we are Restructuring/Reconstructing/Changing Bologna Process National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) Learner Focus Market for Higher Education Services Pursuing Best Practice

8 8 Why we are Restructuring/Reconstructing/Changing The impetus for change is external even if there is a justification based on sound pedagogy This change should be easier to accept as it is happening in the context of a need and justification for change that the Higher Education Sector and Institutions are required to respond to under Bologna Process and NFQ Change is always traumatic for those affected even for academic professionals that are working in fields where change and development is constant It is not possible or advisable to buck the trend of market forces and even if CBMS are found not to be perfect, we will be in good company as the HE sector across the European Education Area has adopted CBMS as best practice

9 9 Our Experience of Change as Academics Becoming a ‘Lecturer’/Teacher Gradual Development of Programmes Institutional and Programmatic Review Delegation of Authority Transfer of Programmes to the NFQ No experience of ‘Fundamental Change’

10 10 Our Experience of Change as Academics Becoming a Teacher/Lecturer is traumatic for someone moving into Higher Education from another field. One adapts by complying with the way things are done in the HE institution and by lecturing ( ‘NOT TEACHING’) in the way we experienced HE ourselves. Gradual change and development is relatively easy and normal Programmatic Reviews tend to be retrospective and any development tends to be incremental and involves adjustments to existing structures Delegation of Authority involved significant QA but little or no change in the day to day activity Academics Transfer to the NFQ was relatively easy (good experience, even if viewed by some with suspicion – ‘that Learning Outcomes business!’) Even completely new programmes are developed to be in keeping with existing structures and to share as much as possible with existing programmes and so tend to preserve the status quo No real experience of Fundamental Change in the business of education

11 11 Bologna and NFQ Require and Facilitate ‘Fundamental Change’ Transparency Recognition Mobility

12 12 Bologna and NFQ Require and Facilitate ‘Fundamental Change’ The Bologna Process and the NFQ provide the framework that facilitates change as they provide the template for all HE Institutions The Bologna Process and the NFQ objectives can only be fully realised if HE providers adhere to a framework that creates a truly unified Higher Education Sector as perceived by learners It is the Learner’s perception of Higher Education as articulated in Bologna and NFQ that matters The Bologna Process and the NFQ have created an environment where the interests of the HE Learning Community are paramount and are advocated The more that the Bologna Process and the NFQ become established the more difficult it will be for HE institutions to operate with structures that fall short in terms of Transparency, Recognition and Mobility

13 13 Centrality of Learning Outcomes and Credits – The Paradigm Shift Learner Input (ECTS Credits) Learning Process Assessment and Grading Programmes Awards

14 14 Centrality of Learning Outcomes and Credits – The Paradigm Shift If the Bologna Process and NFQ are to be fully embraced by States, Institutions and Academics a shared focus is requires; one that is based on a standardised approach to Learning. This may mean a Paradigm Shift for many ECTS/Credits will define Learner Input (Learner Effort) Learning Process, Assessment, Grading, Programmes and Awards all require a unifying and universally acceptable concept and definition of Learning Outcomes The emergence of Teaching and Learning Centres reflects an awareness of the need for Professional Development of Academics and the need to support Learners in Higher Education in this space

15 15 ‘Real’ Learner Centred Education Exclusive v Inclusive Institutional Status v Learning Community Academic ‘Freedom’ v Learner Needs & Wants Field Expertise v Pedagogy Teaching v Learning Input v Output Syllabus Content v Learning Outcomes (Familiar) v (Unfamiliar)

16 16 ‘Real’ Learner Centred Education We all genuinely proclaim and subscribe to the concept of ‘Learner Centred Education’ but fully achieving this in practice is a different matter Learner Centred Education must be translated into all aspects of the Higher Education enterprise and must be embraced by all involved Systems that supported traditional modes of higher education may need to be changed radically to allow Learning to become the meaningful purpose of Education Achieving meaningful ‘Learner Centred Education’ may be more complex and difficult than what we currently do Note: Learners will be required to shoulder the responsibility for their own learning and this must be factored into the restructuring of Higher Education. Learners will also have to be helped adjust.

17 17 Importance of Learning Outcomes and Credits for Academics Academics Conceive/Design/Develop/Deliver/Assess Education Programmes and Award Credits for the learning that is achieved Academics are at the coalface of the Bologna Process and are ultimately responsible for Transparency Recognition Mobility Academics must have an in-depth understanding of Learning Outcomes and Credits

18 18 Importance of Learning Outcomes and Credits for Academics Learning Outcomes and Credits are the core principles underpinning the required reform of learning structures and processes in Higher Education Academics are the ones that deliver on the Bologna Process and the NFQ objectives All academics require an in-depth understanding of Learning Outcomes and Credits if they are to be able to use them in designing programmes and in managing the learning environment Lecturers must see themselves as Learner Managers Not easy – Even Education Experts differ on how to use Learning Outcomes

19 19 Foundation for Understanding of Learning Outcomes and Credits Learning and Learners Standards, Level and Volume (Knowledge, Skill and Competence) Assessment

20 20 Foundation for Understanding of Learning Outcomes and Credits In order to understand Learning Outcomes and Credits and how to use these tools properly requires a lot of background understanding of Learning and Learners. Lecturers need to have some competence in Education. Considering the varied professional experience of the academic community this requires particular attention. Learning Outcomes in terms of Standards, Levels and Volume of Knowledge, Skill and Competence and Assessment need to be objectively definable at programme and module level

21 21 Learning Outcomes and Credits – A Shared Interpretation A Common Currency in a Seamless Sector Opportunity for Convergence Risk of Divergence Avoid cul-de-sacs

22 22 Learning Outcomes and Credits – Interpretation Higher Education learning involves much the same process no matter where it is being undertaken The proper use of Learning Outcomes and Credits should be the same no matter who is using them in the design of modules and programmes A shared approach and interpretation at this fundamental level of Higher Education provision would be valuable if not essential in achieving the aims that the Bologna Process and NFQ are supposed to achieve in Transparency, Recognition and Mobility Learning Outcomes and Credits need to be a Common Currency An concerted effort should be made to promote Convergence and Synergy in the development of CBMS employing Learning Outcomes as a powerful unifying dimension of the Bologna and NFQ frameworks There is a risk of further Divergence ‘Rome was not built in a day’ but it is important to avoid any development that may be difficult to reverse

23 23 We’re in the Learning Business Simple Concepts Complex Problems

24 24 IT Tralee : Context Thank You Accreditation and Assessment in Higher Education - The Emerging Scenario NUI, Maynooth, 25th January 2007


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