Ann's Learning design for the whole institutional curriculum

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Ann pegg
13 January 2013

I am working at the Open University and have recently been involved in creating and agreeing ways that the institution can move forward in developing its approach to teaching and learning for students to ensure a baseline of consistency in what is provided for  students.  This is not only an issue of quality control, but also approaches to teaching and learning that don't make assumptions about the motivations and interests of students coming to our institution to learn.   

This agenda for change is also influenced by UK government policy and ideas by many people about the nature of learning in the future - academics, financila people, policy makers, student support services, students and comentators on our environment, employers, politicians etc.     Overall in this conversation is a sense of 'change' driven by technology - elearning, open educational resources etc,  and I was struck by a comment in the introductory prezzi suggesting that the structure of 'old' universities, the physical form of the classroom determined the approach to learning as - well, one way and non-constructive, delivery rather than participatory.   I am not sure I agree, the oldest universities brought people together in a very positive way, yes to learn, but also to share and to discover knowledge together -  these groups were and are inherently social, so what was and is the key to learning for a whole institution?

Possible Project

a learning design to help to find the locus of curriculum for an institution,  is this the process of delivery?  the mission?  the students left to define learning?  

Parameters:   the nature of certification,  what will badges do for people ( that haven't already got degrees, the social trappings of approval and cultural capital of working in a university? 

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Debra Morris
1:18pm 14 January 2013


Some good issues raised here, Ann.  I am also interested in the changing nature of the institutional "educational offer".  In a deliberate and decisive switch (maybe technologically driven) to an altered pedagogy, what is the impact for the range of disciplines?  what are the implications for the ways in which an institution articulates its offer?  how will prospective students use these articulations (will they, even) to make decisions for study/learning/qualification? 

I find the concept of the community of learners/the academy very attractive.  Important for many institutions across the world. In decisions relating to choice of University at present, crucial criteria are often geographical location, transport link to and from and between, the design and nature of a campus, and just how a place “feels” to people and friends.  What are the likely, new criteria for these elements?

Will learners of the future focus on the avowed pedadogical philosophy of an institution, on reputational issues for specific disciplines (still), on the innovative qualities of individual teachers within a programme or on what the Key Information Set (KIS) tells them?  How should universities respond to these challenges?

I am going to try to explore possible projects - not sure quite how to do this in a way which will not risk enveloping us in something too large and rather overwhelming!  

Debra Morris

 

Ann pegg
4:29pm 14 January 2013


hi Debra, 

thanks for the comment, perhaps, looking at this again, this is a discussion we should take to a study circle?  not sure it makes for a coherent project, as you say.   I will investigate study circles today and post there if it seems appropriate.   Re reading the curriculum reform.org manifesto (refernce on first page of OLDS) I wonder if this also is a contribution to a discussion about interdisciplinary issues and recognising credit.  

hope to discuss this more with you, 

ann

Hugues Chicoine
1:36am 15 January 2013 (Edited 1:37am 15 January 2013)


 

dear Ann,
two or three expressions in your position statement have significance for me:
(i) the very title of your statement "learning design for the whole institutional curriculum". 
(ii) a quest for "approaches to teaching and learning that don't make assumptions about the 
motivations and interests of students", and
(iii) elsewhere in Ann's Blog (http://cloudworks.ac.uk/cloud/view/7193) : "workbased learning 
curriculum design"
(iv) "education as a discipline hasn't made explicit a process of curriculum and learning design".
Finally, you refer to comments by who states, with interrogations : "embarrassed by taking an 
open outcomes-led approach with clearly stated assessment criteria, that none-the-less admit 
unexpected and emergent outcomes even while specifying much or even most of the syllabus. 
But, would I call my principles a learning-design approach? I suppose I could, if I had to. And, 
for the purposes of the OLDS-MOOC, I guess I have to." (George Roberts - 
http://rworld2.brookesblogs.net/2013/01/11/the-reification-of-learning-design/)
I believe that this all quite feasible, but it requires some tweaking of traditional concepts.  I 
think that a student/learner work plan approach or work based learning approach can be 
developed and proposed. It should fit all of the open | distance education realm just as 
didactics and pedagogy have supported traditional teaching and teacher-centered delivery.  
I do not believe that technology can provide adequate meta-construction | -design concepts 
for education. 
/HCh
 

dear Ann,

More than two or three expressions in your position statement have significance for me:

  • the very title of your statement "learning design for the whole institutional curriculum"
  • a quest for "approaches to teaching and learning that don't make assumptions about the motivations and interests of students", and
  • elsewhere in Ann's Blog (http://cloudworks.ac.uk/cloud/view/7193) : "workbased learning curriculum design"
  • "education as a discipline hasn't made explicit a process of curriculum and learning design".

Finally, you refer to comments by George Roberts who states, with interrogations :

I am not embarrassed by taking an open outcomes-led approach with clearly stated assessment criteria, that none-the-less admit unexpected and emergent outcomes even while specifying much or even most of the syllabus. But, would I call my principles a learning-design approach? I suppose I could, if I had to. And, for the purposes of the OLDS-MOOC, I guess I have to." (George Roberts - http://rworld2.brookesblogs.net/2013/01/11/the-reification-of-learning-design/)

I believe that it is quite possible to outline a design approach that all disciplines would share, but it requires some tweaking of traditional concepts.  I think that a student/learner work plan approach or work based learning approach can be developed and proposed. It should fit all of the open | distance education realm just as didactics and pedagogy have supported traditional teaching and teacher-centered delivery over centuries.  

I do not believe that technology can provide adequate meta-construction | -design concepts for education. 

/HCh

 

Bronwyn Hegarty
1:59am 16 January 2013


Hi Ann

Like you I am interested in exploring fresh approaches to educational design so that the learner is in charge, not the organisation.  I have posted about this on my blog. Note my comments about the model used at Suny Empire State College.

Dr Bronwyn Hegarty

Terry Di Paolo
11:07pm 16 January 2013


Hi Ann

Interesting take on all this - sorry this is brief as I'm catching up having started late!

You got me thinking...

1. People want qualifications - yet university teaching is about courses/modules and for me this raises issues about how we manage/develop/balance the online learning experience. Competency education seems to be the next big thing on this side of the pond (See Western Governors University for a WHOLE NEW approach to how to get a degree!)

2. When we think online we generally think delivery of information but I'm often struggling to find a holistic experience that combines knowledge, assessment and reflection on learning

3. The developmental nature of the qualification experience - is it implicit or forgotten about in the learning design rhetoric?

Diane Goodman
7:18am 27 January 2013


Hello Ann

I too have started this course late, and am interested in some of the issues you raise.

There was a kind of luxury afforded to learning in the 'old'universities - whole days spent on campus - attending lectures and workshops, and in-between, studying, networking, socialising and developing relationships with like-minded people.

In our 'new' universities, its fortunate if students manage to make it on campus to lectures at all, and many of those who do, have to dash off to part-time jobs, family responsibilities and the like, the minute the lecture is over.

With much research being undertaken online these days, many students also prefer studying and researching in the comfort of their own home office where they can also multi-task to suit their needs. Its difficult to feel 'connected' under these circumstances. And its challenging to participate when you feel disconnected. And I too wonder how deep learning can be, when it is fragmented and isolated in terms of experience, participation and collaboration.

Technology is significantly changing the social pattern of our lives, and as a result learners are changing the way they need and choose to learn and participate in the learning process. 

It would be great to be able to somehow harness that sense of colleagiality and deep learning that emanated from the 'old' institutions, and bring it into online learning environments in 21st century universities.  I am really interested in investigating ways of doing this and hope my journey through this course will provide answers...

Mark Watson
2:07pm 4 August 2017


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