November 19, 2013, by Teaching at Nottingham
The Teaching Transformation Programme
Prof Alan Ford: “It has been an exciting year internationally and nationally in teaching and learning, with headline grabbing news in online learning – MOOCs – and potentially radical proposals emerging for a redesign of the UK assessment regime through the adoption of GPA. Here in Nottingham we have made our contribution to these developments, having joined the Futurelearn consortium which is due to unveil our first MOOC – Sustainability and You – in January 2014, and worked with Russell Group partners to develop a workable GPA system.
“The big issue facing us, though, is to identify our teaching and learning priorities for the remainder of this decade. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Karen Cox, is currently leading an extensive consultation process to draw up the University Strategy for 2020, and APVC Wyn Morgan and I have been talking to colleagues to produce our own 2020 vision for teaching and learning.
“The underpinning principle is to establish a consistency of quality in our educational activities. Students should quickly develop a long-lasting sense of disciplinary identity and belonging to their school community; they should experience the best quality teaching in and beyond class contact time, and they should be confident in the availability of academic and pastoral support throughout their studies.
“To this end, this academic session will see the launch of the Teaching Transformation Programme overseen by the University’s Teaching & Learning Board.
“The programme will have three main strands:
Revisiting the ways in which we interact with students and improving the use of technology within and beyond the classroom such that students can engage with their subject anywhere and at any time. Integrating technology-based work with revised use of contact time is at the heart of the vision to allow for more effective and interactive engagement with students in timetabled slots. Inter-campus connections will also be improved as resources can be shared, re-purposed and re-shared, creating a closer working relationship between module leaders across the campuses and helping to spread good practice.
This strand will concentrate on a redesign of the assessment diet to more accurately reflect learning outcomes and to make time for better feedback. A greater use of formative assessment is anticipated, along with more flexible assessment methods such as online tests for self-assessment and peer-to-peer assessment. Advantages of such approaches should include improvements in ways of giving feedback, reducing the assessment burden on staff and students, and devising methods of assessment that make the most of the online environment.
A ‘Curriculum 2020 Group’ is being convened to work towards a leaner curriculum, with fewer courses and modules, thus creating space for innovation in what remains e.g. in delivering inter-disciplinary modules and supporting NOOCs and MOOCs more sustainably. We hope that managerial efficiencies will be delivered in terms of timetabling, room utilisation, exam timetabling, quality assurance and curriculum management.
“These strands have multiple connections between them and there is a clear need to take a holistic view; hence their incorporation into a single programme.
“In the coming session, Wyn and I will visit each school to discuss the Teaching Transformation Programme, backed up by a consideration of relevant statistical information, in order to reach agreement on how the school can best take forward work in these three strands, identify the school’s priorities between these areas and determine how its efforts can be centrally supported. The visit will also be used to ensure that adequate progress is being made in creating an appropriate Moodle presence for every module.
“We will also be attending Faculty Teaching Committees and holding discussions with Deans and Faculty Directors of Teaching to help ensure that the activities of individual schools are appropriately joined up at the Faculty level. Similarly, Vice-Provosts and Campus Teaching Committees will be involved in these discussions. Wider discussion events are also being planned that will provide an opportunity for all interested staff to hear about and comment on the programme of work.
“Going beyond this session, we envisage that concerted engagements with schools to assist them with respect to the objectives of the Teaching Transformation Programme will occur on a staggered basis until 2017 (with a view to the objectives of the programme being fully attained by 2020).
“The schedule for these engagements will dovetail with that for Teaching & Learning Review (the successor methodology to School Review). It will thereby help schools to prepare for that review, enabling the review itself to comment on progress and identify further actions and support needed, and creating an integrated engagement for schools rather than subjecting them to multiple, and possibly confusing, processes.
“University Executive Board has put aside considerable funds for the implementation of the Teaching Transformation Programme, some £1.5-£1.8 million up until the end of 2017. The size of this investment emphasises the importance being placed on the programme’s objectives. The programme will be run by the Teaching & Learning Directorate headed by APVC Professor Wyn Morgan with the particular assistance of Dr Sarah Speight as Academic Director of Online Learning and Dr Rachel Scudamore as Head of Teaching Enhancement along with other colleagues who are currently being appointed. Details of the team and its activities, and of the programme itself, will be circulated as they become available, but please, in the meantime, contact Wyn, Sarah or Rachel with any queries, or perhaps bring them to one of the forthcoming Teaching Policy Forums.”