Great learning design and quality assurance are two sides of the same coin. When you make changes to a module or programme, there are a range of QA procedures that might apply, and it helps to understand how these processes interlink – particularly when planning ahead.
New programmes or modules
When writing a new module or programme, a CAIeRO workshop can help you with everything from writing the learning outcomes, to choosing the assessment and creating the learning activities. The first day of the workshop will help you set the foundations, and the second day helps ensure these are workable in practice.
New programmes and modules are subject to validation, and as part of this process you will be required to write a rationale for the new offering. The planning work you do in the CAIeRO can help you complete this, as it includes consideration of strategic goals, the student experience, and resource and training requirements. The CAIeRO process can also help you firm up your curriculum documentation (also required for validation), and make decisions about the allocation of teaching and learning hours, assessment strategy and more. In addition to documentation, the CAIeRO can help you get started creating sample teaching materials, which are required for validation of distance learning programmes.
At the University, many validations can be completed online, but some (particularly those involving PSRBs) require a validation event. For these programmes, validations usually take place in the Spring term. For a new programme starting in September, you should aim for validation early in the term to allow the maximum possible time for development of the course materials (if you want the course to start the following January, you might aim for validation later, in March or April). This means you should be scheduling your CAIeRO in the previous Autumn term.
For more on the validation process, see the validation page of the website, which has information and links to the handbook..
Periodic subject reviews
PSRs are a chance to reflect on what has worked well in your teaching over the previous five years. It is also a great opportunity to use those reflections to define the future direction of the programmes involved. The CAIeRO process can be used to support this process in a number of ways: as a ‘health check’ or review of a programme; to target specific issues you may have identified; and/or to plan how to implement changes you’d like to make.
For PSR you will be required to submit a Self-Evaluation Document (SED). This document will ask you to reflect on things like alignment with frameworks and standards, the currency of the curriculum and student achievement and feedback. All of these elements can be considered within the CAIeRO process, to help you complete the SED form and prepare for any questions during the PSR event.
At the University, PSRs usually take place in the Autumn term, and the documentation is submitted in advance. CAIeROs for PSR can be scheduled at any point in the year (although you may want to note the Change of Approval guidance below when considering timing).
For more on the PSR process, see the PSR page on the website, which has information and links to the handbooks.
Ongoing review of delivery
Of course, adjusting and adapting your teaching and assessment practice happens all year round, and is not dependent on big events like those listed above. You might have taken over a module or programme, or be considering a more blended approach, or just want to try a new idea you’ve heard about. You can book a CAIeRO for issues like this at any time in the year, but you should be conscious of timing the implementation of these changes, and the possible impact on the student experience.
Wherever possible, you should avoid making big changes that will affect current delivery of a module or programme part way through. In addition to this, for level 5 and 6 modules, be aware that students need to know what to expect when they make their module choices. Any changes made after students have chosen the module should be made in consultation with those students.
Changes to existing modules and programmes are achieved through the Change of Approval process, which recognises three levels of change (based on degree of impact). Type B and C changes (more substantial than Type A) must be submitted well in advance of the proposed delivery, and for levels 5 and 6, in advance of the publication of module information to students. For 2015/16 delivery, the deadline for change of approvals for these modules is 13 January (for levels 4 and 7, the deadline is May).
For more on this process, see the Change of Approval page on the website, which has information and links to the handbooks.
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