Executive Summary

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.’

(Marshall, 2010)

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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