I recently attended a one day event organised by the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) about large-scale curriculum redesign where technology plays a central role. There were various talks through-out the day from FE institutions who had set about delivering chunks of learning online. Worcester College of Technology talked about their PAL Packs, developed to provide 15% of every course online. South West College, Northern Ireland, presented their ‘virtual week’ where students were able to access all their learning from home. Leeds City College discussed how technology was driving large scale organisational change as well as transforming learning across their various campuses in Leeds.
Manchester Metropolitan University were also there and talked about how they are dealing with their move from 20 credits to 30 credits for all first year modules. Using technology, they have been able to make the management of the process more efficient providing a central point in which to enter information and then have this distributed to the various systems (validation, student records, timetables, VLE).
There were a few notable attendees including Maren Deepwell (Chief executive of ALT), Diana Laurillard (Institute of Education), author of the seminal book in learning theory, Rethinking University Teaching: A Conversational Framework for the Effective Use of Learning Technologies, and a familiar face from the recent UDOL Conference here at Derby, Donald Clark.
Donald’s lecture was about scalability, arguing that this should be a condition of funding. The more scalable the delivery the more cost-effective its development will be for the institution. A big fan of the Khan Academy and the notion of the Flipped Classroom (mentioned in previous blog posts) he proposes that we should always be recording our lectures (to reach larger audiences) we should be utilising Open Educational Resources (to save creating something that already exists), peer assessment (to reduce the marking load for academics), adaptive algorithms (to provide personalised learning), and Cloud-based solutions (to save money on providing hard ware and software infrastructure).
Although this was a very useful conference and I enjoyed hearing about what other institutions are trying to do, I came away with a clear message. The inclusion of technology to enhance the whole curriculum (across the institution) will only come about if the senior management team can be convinced of the potential benefits it may bring. The projects presented here had this, they were provided with resources, time and encouragement in order to make this organisational and cultural change. Is this possible at Derby?