Tag Archives: lscrd


So could your institution replace 15% of their curriculum with online study packs?

At the ALT Large Scale Curriculum Redesign, Peter Kilcoyne of Worcester College of Technology explained in his presentation how his college did just that.

Every course had to replace 15% of the students guided learning hours (or contact time) from classroom delivery to online study packs. These study packs, called PALs (Personally Accountable Learning) were designed to be delivered by the VLE (Moodle) and accessed remotely and independently by learners.

This was, according to Peter, a real challenge, with lots of issues and problems. As well as the inevitable, “I don’t have the time” and the usual sceptical resistance from staff, there were also lots of other real issues such as curriculum planning, technical training, course and activity design. All this taking place in a time of transition and concerns about jobs and pay. There was also some resistance from learners.

Curriculum areas were given a degree of freedom about how they would use their 15%. Some courses for example made 15% of every module delivered in this way. Whilst other courses found some individual modules were more attuned to this method of delivery and therefore most modules were delivered as before with a couple of modules delivered in their entirety through the packs.

Overall the main reason for this approach was to reduce costs. This was achieved by reducing staffing costs for courses by reducing teaching time by 15%. To ensure that the independent learning that took place in the 15% gap was covered by staff using OER (Open Educational Resources), YouTube, NLN Materials and other resources to create study packs.

There was an interesting “discussion” at the end of Peter’s presentation about was this really about saving money, the increase in workload that this approach would bring. I think there was some confusion between what we would call e-teaching and e-learning. What I understood from the presentation was that 15% of “guided delivery” by teachers would be replaced by “independent learning” through the internet. In terms of marking assessment, this is never part of the guided learning hours so replacing 15% of the learners’ classroom time with remote learning wouldn’t have an impact on the time taken to mark assessments, as marking wouldn’t happen within classroom time anyway.

This approach may appear to be controversial to some (and certainly some members of the audience weren’t too keen on it) but if your institution is facing a difficult economic climate it might be a solution to cut costs.

On a more positive note though, I can see this also as a great solution for small class sizes. Can’t fill a group, well use study packs so that the class can proceed, as I am sure learners may prefer to attend a course then have it not run at all!

Where this could really start to save time and money too, is if institutions start to share their packs. How that could happen and work is a bigger different kind of problem.

Large Scale Curriculum Redesign

First Great Western HST

On my way to Birmingham to attend the ALT event on large scale curriculum redesign.

The aim of the event is to provide participants with practical ideas and strategies for technology-supported curriculum redesign which will have an impact on large numbers of learners.

I am interested to hear from the many different (and in some cases controversial) speakers about what they have done in their institutions, and how they have used technology to make change happen.

Where this event, hopefully will be different, is that the approach many of the speakers have used in their institutions has been holistic and large scale and involved all curriculum areas. This must have been a real challenge, but is really the only way forward to make change happen within an institution. I am hoping to hear about some of the barriers they faced and how they overcame them.

Often in education we focus on the small scale pilot and project to look at the impact of technology on learning, and then before we embed it across the institution, we move onto the next shiny thing!