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Session: Large Scale Learning Design

Session at the ETUG Fall 2009 Workshop

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Sylvia Currie
14 October 2009

In this presentation participants will learn from the experience that the faculty of the School of Instructor Education at Vancouver Community College went through to redesign the well-known Provincial Instructor Diploma Program. The redesign started with an internal and external program evaluation, and from there a visioning session and curriculum mapping exercise with much input from stakeholders. This session will focus on the process but will also cover the challenges faced and lessons learned.

Extra content

Karen Belfer is the Dean for the Centre for Instructional Development and School of Instructor Education at Vancouver Community College. Prior to VCC she worked as an Educational Consultant for BCIT, UBC and TechBC. As a consultant, she has managed projects internationally and in various Canadian institutions. Her focus is the implementation of educational technologies to enhance the learning process (e.g. e-portfolios, social software, web-based learning). Karen did her undergraduate work in Informatics, her Masters in Education, and Ph.D. in Educational Research at the Anahuac University in Mexico, where she taught for over 10 years. Karen has extensive experience in faculty training, research, development, design, implementation and evaluation of the use of technology in higher education. Her research interests are in the assessment of online social learning environments, teaching perspectives and teamwork.

Sylvia Currie
16:02 on 14 October 2009

Embedded Content

Presentation slides

Presentation slides

added by Gráinne Conole


Vivian Forssman
12:22am 15 October 2009

Why am I interested in Large Scale Learning Design? Well I guess I cut my teeth on this topic while I was at SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary, where my team was responsible for an incredible volume of course (re)designs - we did 250 course (re) designs and an equal number of course (re)development projects, plus about half-a-dozen program mapping projects each year. I worked with a team of about 8 instructional designers, and another 8 "curriculum co-ordinators". Faculty were paid for their time on these projects, but were somewhat reluctant actors in the process, and encouraging an understanding of the practice of learning design, with faculty, was an ongoing challenge. Now I am at UBC, and thankfully don't have the volume to deal with but I see similar challenges, that is, getting faculty to the table as active and engaged participants in the process of learning design. At Sauder we are initiating a project to re-develop just about all of our course outlines to align learning-outcomes, learning activities and assessment. This will qualify as a "large scale learning design" project. So I am keen to hear how Karen has fared with her projects, and to learn from others who particpate in this workshop.

Sylvia Currie
9:59pm 21 October 2009

Live blogging of Karen Belfer's session

Shift from course design to program design for this presenation. Sharing experiences at VCC and methodologies used for program design.

Provincial Instructor Diploma Program started in 1979 and hasn't changed much since. The goal is to help new instructors. Program at VCC cost recovery. 6 courses and 1 practicum.

Did a program review and generated recommendations and challenges.


  1. Visioning
  2. Mapping Exercise
  3. Develop a new Business Model (on hold - need more info to do that #courses, etc)


Try to generate excitement and look toward the future.


Based on book (see ppt slides) Metaphors are good for guiding faculty through the process. Used the river.

Philosophy: curriculum development as a conversation. Involve many voices (students, faculty, community leaders, etc)

What are the roles students will take in society? Then talk about what students need to be able to do these roles.

What teaching strategies that are appropriate? Talk about ... more independent approach? group work? more teacher centred?

Greatest fear for SME - will not be able to cover the content. To reduce the fear simply think of it this way: the only content that will be lost is the content that isn't relevant to the intended outcomes.

Outcome of process - ended up with a program that looked very similar to original program. Did not stay with mapping process.


- takes a lot of time to go through process properly and faculty go through curriculum design process that they are used to.

Map - easy for students to see at a glance what is required at al parts of the program, where in program are capstone assessments, etc. Know what you need to do to be successful.


Do you assess students outside of the classroom? Yes, part of assessment is on authentic tasks, portfolios include what done outside.

Why did you overhaul program when it was already successful? Because it was outdated. It's new for people who come to the program. They think it is fine. But compared to what is going on out in the world and compare it to the program, it's clear it's outdated.Transmission oriented instructors and need to change.

When will the new program be in place? New development in January -- so in 2 years.

How did you introduce this new way of developing curriculum to faculty? Distribute books to all faculty which outlines the mapping process, bring in facilitators who are familiar with the process.

Comment: SAIT adopted this method. Highly recommend River Rafting program!


Gráinne Conole
3:10pm 23 October 2009

Hi Sylvia thanks for the link - hve added as embedded content


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