New foundation degrees

What might a new foundation degree look like?

Cloud created by:

Gráinne Conole
13 January 2009

Use this cloud to discuss ideas for what a new foundation degree look like. A summary of some of the discussions from the plenary session at the FELS FD workshop, 15th Jan are noted below and might provide useful points for discussion. 


What works well with existing foundation degrees?


  • Good at designing courses and content of high quality
  •  Keep practitioner focus within course teams and good expertise
  • Have adopted a strong evidence-based approach to our course developments


What might it be good to change?


  • Bring student, work-place experiences into the courses
  •  More use of hand-held technologies to record what is happening in the workplace and making courses more dynamic, valuing what the students are brining to the course, valuing more the prior knowledge and experience rather than just accrediting it
  •  Assessment: constraints of professional accreditations that courses are aligned to – such as practice observation, more flexibility around end of course assessments and more valuing of students actual practice
  •  Electronic ways of collecting evidence
  • Initial audit for all students
  • Change courses into much smaller units  - 5/10/15 and the build up more personalised and targeted programmes
  •  Assessment – more TMA based throughout the course rather than end of unit assessment, see the course as an award rather than individual courses


What challenges do these things present?


  • Cost of assessment is a challenge for all FD, could we use an open-book exam approach as an alternative
  • Cost of quality assurance checks
  • Procedures for dealing with students who can’t evidence that the work is their own
  •  Updating the course materials – keeping policy documents online, tension between having a tangible asset such as a printed output rather than online
  • Approval process vs. timescales for development
  • Sharing common resources – online resource bank?
  •  The need to screen students prior to starting on fast-track or APEL routes
  • How to provide flexible starting points – roll on/roll off approach
  • Institutional systems – such as a the stage-gate process, registration, tutor roles and appropriateness for supporting work-based practices, production processes and timescales in relation to courses, marketing – better knowledge of what our sectors are, workloads and academic norms
  • Changing award systems and approval, more resourcing at an early stage in the process to share ideas and resources
  • Employer engagement – how to involve them early in the planning process
  • Changing systems and changing mindsets



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