Co-designing the curriculum

Pearson Co-Lab event, Spring 2018

The HE Co-Lab Network brings together teaching and learning leaders and professionals virtually on LinkedIn and in person at events. Our spring event focused on working with employers and students to design engaging courses. 

The network seeks to inspire original thinking and create unique opportunities to collaborate to build solutions to the teaching and learning challenges facing the sector.

Following on from the success of the inaugural Co-Lab Network event in December, we were joined again by 21 university colleagues on 26 April for our second event, this time around a theme of co-designing learning and teaching.

Co-designing learning and teaching

We were delighted that six attendees were able to share their experiences of co-designing with employers, undergraduate students and widening participation groups, sparking much debate and conversation amongst the group.

Dr Kirsty Miller (deputy head of psychology, University of Lincoln) and Tommy George (student union vice president, academic affairs) spoke about their experience of partnership work between students and academic staff in designing learning and teaching in the context of the university’s ethos which is centred around student engagement.

Ben Hughes (vice president, industry engagement, Pearson College London) and Thomas Hirschmann (founder, Braingraph) then discussed Pearson College London’s experience of, and approach to, working with employers and co-designing programmes with them.

Finally, Stella Jones-Devitt (head of student research and evaluation, Sheffield Hallam University) and Maggie Milne (service manager, NHS) presented their co-design approach with in-work students whose voices are often unheard or misheard.

Actionable ideas  

One of the aims of the Co-Lab Network events is to provide opportunities for colleagues to share experiences, challenges and solutions to enable participants to come away with ideas and insights into how they might support or lead change in their institution. To ensure that we achieved this, participants were asked to bring a problem or challenge associated with co-design or which they believed might be solved through a co-design approach.

After the panel discussion, participants worked in self-selected groups to talk through their ideas and come up with solutions to try out. This generated many lively and rich discussions, and gave everyone focused time to deep dive into their specific challenges and elicit a range of experiences and expertise from all participants.

Creating connections

About the author 

Nathalie Morris is head of service development, efficacy and analytics at Pearson.