Sustaining innovation in curriculum delivery

There was much discussion at last week’s Innovating e-Learning online conference around managing change and how these can support the embedding and sustaining of innovation and new practice within an organisation. This requires significant engagement with a range of stakeholders and linking new approaches and practices to institutional strategies and policies is an integral part of this process. Although each institutional context is different and there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to effectively embedding innovative change, there are good examples which we can learn from. In a session at the conference, three Curriculum Delivery projects talked about their approaches to sustaining curriculum delivery innovations across three very different institutions.

The Cascade project has introduced a number of technology interventions to enable more effective course design, online access and administration to support continuing and professional learners at the University of Oxford. Engaging a diversity of stakeholders has been a significant challenge but one approach which the project has found invaluable was developing a communications and engagement strategy early on. Key to embedding however has been “tapping into existing structures, talking to people through the channels they already use and engaging with them at the point where they want to use our outputs” (Marion Manton, Project Manager)

The eBiolabs project at Bristol has created an online site dedicated to supporting large cohorts of students in preparing for lab work and introduced automated marking and feedback to ease the assessment burden on teaching staff. Two years on the system is now supporting ten bioscience courses involving 800+ students. The project has successfully leveraged economies of scale and evidenced increased student engagement which has provided the impetus to scale up electronic support and roll out to other faculties and disciplines.

The KUBE* project has developed a range of blended learning models to enhance the use of technology in curriculum delivery and to support learner engagement, progression and achievement in HE business programmes at Kingston College. Engaging teaching teams and learners from the start and developing a sense of ownership of the process has been critical. Through a series of activities including workshops and focus groups the project has achieved ‘buy-in’ and a model of engagement which has seen the uptake of the approach emerging across the College. (*username: jiscguest password: welcome2KC)

A number of other projects across both the Delivery and Design programmes have valuable lessons to share around sustaining innovation, stakeholder engagement and managing change. See the Design Studio for examples.

JISC has also produced a Good Practice Guide on “Sustaining and Embedding Innovations” which draws on the work of the two programmes and other JISC initiatives and will continue to be developed.

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