How do you go about designing a curriculum that’s authentic?
Caroline Wilson, Programme Team Leader for BA Marketing degrees at the University of Hertfordshire, shared her experience of designing a curriculum outside-in, using stakeholder feedback.
She strongly believes in providing learning experiences that are relevant to ‘me, us and them’, placing students at the heart of design and delivery, equipping them with the skills to become successful career graduates.
Through conducting research with students, she discovered that they really enjoy live projects and wanted more opportunity to develop practical skills using tools they would be expected to use in the workplace e.g MS Office, Adobe suite and digital marketing platforms.
In consultation with employers, Caroline found that they had similar expectations - graduates that are career-ready, motivated, entrepreneurial, respectful, adaptable and resilient along with having a set of core skills that include good numeracy, literacy, business acumen and relevant qualifications.
With her research findings, she has now helped to redesign curricula that are sustainable, attractive to prospective students, innovative and deliver on stakeholder expectations. It includes more live projects, hackathons, portfolios, elevator pitches and less emphasis on exams and essays.
Their design approach has received 3 commendations with the next phase of the project being its implementation.
How technology is shaping the future of assessment
After the break, we were joined by Matthew Poyiadgi, VP for Pearson VUE EMEA who gave a really eye-opening talk on how technology is shaping our future, how we think, work and learn.
While the pace of technological change is a perceived threat to business among top CEOs, Matthew expressed that it is not technology itself that is the disruptor but not being customer-centric.
He recognises that the mode in which our young people learn and consume knowledge has changed, wanting access not ownership, shorter not longer periods of learning and are taking responsibility for acquiring the skills they need.
Technology is the enabler of all. Matthew reinforced the pedagogy of letting go, posing a poignant question from Rosalinde Torres (Boston Consulting Group) “Are you courageous enough to abandon a practice that made you successful in the past?” and become truly customer-centric.
All of our guest speakers provided great food for thought, which spurred great discussion over food at lunch. In the afternoon, we broke out into groups to explore the challenges of implementing authentic assessment at their institutions.
Time, resource and culture resonated as key barriers with many expressing that change does have to come from strategy to catalyse some of the enablers Lydia and Caroline referred to.
However, in looking at solutions to some of these challenges, authentic assessment could be achieved realistically at the point of revalidation, to rip up the script and start again and effectively measure and promote its impact to gain critical mass across an institution.
There was also discussion on having the right recruitment policy, specifically achieving the appropriate balance of academic vs industry professionals to design truly authentic, credible learning experiences for students.
Throughout my tenure at Pearson, I have worked closely with academics to embed technology in the curriculum and so a lot of the challenges from our speakers and delegates resonated with me.
Making changes involves risk, sometimes with no immediate return. Implementing significant changes to the curriculum is an iterative task where there will be some failures along the way, but success comes from effectively evaluating these hurdles, sticking with it and making tweaks. Above all, if you place your customer at the centre of the design process in every decision you make it will offer a rewarding experience for all stakeholders.
At Pearson, we place students at the centre of everything we do from learning design of our world leading courseware, new service development and next generation learning platforms.
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Communities and Stakeholder Manager (Pearson)
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