NILE is now integrated into the learning and teaching process at The University of Northampton and we need to ensure that it is being used effectively by staff in order to provide a quality student experience.
In January 2012, a framework was produced which covers the minimum standards which are expected on a NILE site. This was taken to University SEC on 1st March, 2012 and subsequently used as the basis for the new NILE templates which were developed for the 2012/13 academic year. As indicated by the communication sent out on 11th September, 2012, NILE sites will be reviewed against the checklist in the first instance to identify the range of content available to students.
The review, based on a series of standard questions, will feedback information to the module leaders regarding content which should be added to the site along with any action which is required to remove old material; duplicated menu buttons; or other items which may cause confusion to students.
The outputs of the review of NILE sites will be used to inform further planning regarding the use of modules guides and whether they are still required.
Initially the quality team will focus on a sample of modules from each School in discussion with the associate deans. However it is anticipated that all sites will eventually be checked. If there are any items which need clarification (such as which site is currently being used) then tutors may be contacted. A 5 minute rule has been implemented in that if material is not found within 5 minutes of looking for it then it will be classed as not present on the site.
This review will ensure that sites are meeting the foundation level of quality in the first instance. Further discussions are in progress to refine the content required to meet higher levels of standard.
The developmental work around the quality of NILE sites will enable the University to ‘develop systematic approaches to the use of the virtual learning environment across the University in the interests of parity of student learning opportunities’, a recommendation from the last QAA Institutional Audit in June 2009.
Should you require further information on this work then please contact either Lee Jones (x3001) or Rob Howe (x2483)
The University of Northampton (UN) is committed to enhancing the quality of its e-learning and this is a central component of its Learning and Teaching strategies and key to the delivery of its new Strategic Plan 2010-15. The QAQE E-Learning Toolkit allows the University to develop, refine and enhance the institutional approach to quality with a particular 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.
1) Institutional Context
Since 2007, UN has been working on improving processes for course design and delivery using a method based on the Carpe Diem model (Originally developed by The University of Leicester (Armellini et al, 2008 and 2009)). Over time this process has been changed and refined and is now termed CAIeRO (Creating Aligned and Interactive educational Resource Opportunities).
The CAIeRO process is an opportunity for the course team, Learning Technologists, Librarians, Students and other stakeholders (e.g. academic developer/facilitator(s) who are not part of the course team) to come together over a focused period of time to reflect on current or future courses and rebuild these in a way which is pedagogically focused and makes use of technology where relevant – and where it would enhance the delivery.
‘…….the use of the technology itself is increasingly not a distinguishing factor for organisations, but rather the quality of that use and the way it advances the goals of a change resilient organisation become essential to success.’
The style of the events held under the CAIeRO banner have subtly changed over time to incorporate new practices and developments. For example, recent JISC/HEA funding during 2010 has allowed the University to explore the development of Open Educational Resources under the TIGER project (www.northampton.ac.uk/tiger). This has introduced the elements of Designing for Openness to the CAIeRO events so that culture of both using and sharing material is ingrained at the earliest opportunity.
We are also discussing the nature of course development and design with the Director of Learning and Teaching and Head of Quality and Curriculum Services to look at the nature of the validation process and the way in which programmes are delivered within the University.
2) Focus, Scope and Timeline
A team with the following staff will review the toolkit during March and its applicability to the CAIeRO process:
- 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
Whilst the institution has interest in all the stages and the detailed questions which are provided within the toolkit, it is clear that we currently place more focus on some areas than others. We will provide full feedback on the use of the toolkit and would hope to be involved in future revisions.
Two CAIeRO events will be held during March/ April / May informed by the outcomes of the above review and appropriate modifications. Staff involved in the CAIeRO processes will be surveyed about their experiences with particular focus on the value added through the use of the e-learning toolkit.
The feedback will be collated by 31st May, reported on, case study developed and then presented at the e-learning quality conference on 14th June.
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