During April 2011, the University received funding from the HEA to investigate the application of the QA toolkit to the current course development process (termed CAIeRO - Creating Aligned Interactive educational Resource Opportunities ).

 

The bid application and subsequent discussions quickly identified that there was a much greater role for quality processes within the CAIeRO sessions than previously utilised. More detailed discussion of the QA toolkit concluded that within the funded period, the project would focus on the pre- validation stage since this was not extensively addressed at that time. The outcomes of this work were presented at the QAQE conference on 14th June.

 

A project team was formed comprising of:

  • Director of Learning and Teaching
  • Head of Quality and Curriculum Services
  • Deputy Director of Academic Services (Information Services)
  • Principal Lecturer Learning and Teaching (Health)
  • Head of Learning Technology

The team met at regular intervals to reflect on the toolkit and enhance the CAIeRO planning documentation. As a result of these discussions, it was noted that the formal validation process used by the institution and the CAIeRO process had similarities which would have meant academic staff having to address similar questions. Interestingly one academic  noted that they saw the validation process as a paperwork quality exercise whereas they saw the CAIeRO event as an opportunity to apply a quality framework to real materials which would be used with students. This observation has led to further discussions with the quality team to develop a pre- validation CAIeRO event which will lead to the development of materials which will also satisfy the requirements of the later validation – hence reducing duplication.

 

The QA toolkit was useful to provoke discussions between teams who were each focusing on quality from different perspectives and allowed for the potential joining and simplification of eventual processes. The suggested prompts and then related links to projects which had addressed these issues were useful.

 

The team concluded that the  QAQE E-Learning Toolkit allowed the University to develop, refine and enhance the institutional approach to quality, with a focus on the whole lifespan of the (re)development of programmes, making use of Open Educational Resources where applicable. The toolkit will particularly assist as the institution moves forward to increase and enhance its distance learning provision and review and develop its curricula.

The funded period proved to be an exciting period of reflection where it was found that we were not only enhancing the existing process but were able to also simplify the paperwork without compromising any of the quality frameworks. The institution is now in a further phase rollout to further investigate the impact of these changes.

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