Tag Archives: peter kilcoyne


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.

Computeraid and elearning in Africa

Post from Peter Kilcoyne
ILT Director
Worcester College of Technology


Thanks very much to James for asking me to write a few posts about Computeraid and their support for elearning in Africa.

Computeraid (www.computeraid.com) is a great organisation that collects, refurbishes, wipes hard drives for PCs in the UK and ships them out to Schools, Hospitals, Universities and other community organisations.

Computer Aid

This picture shows a container of refurbished PCs being unpacked by one of their African partner organisations.

Over the last fe years Computeraid have been working with Universities in a number of African countries supporting them in implementing e-learning.

Online learning has great potential to open up educational opportunities to many Africans.  Compared to the UK, HE provision is much more limited and is beyond the reach of many due to the cost of fees, limited numbers of scholarships and the physical distance that many people live from Universities.

A great example of how an institution that Computeraid is working with is planning to use elearning to increase access to HE is the Zambian Open University.


ZAOU at present has a population of around 5000 distance students who study through an entirely paper based system. They aim though to increase that to around 50 000 students through adopting elearning. Compared to using paper based system staff and students will get great benefits in efficiencies, speed of delivery, use of communication and collaborative learning tools and e-assessment.

Computeraid are supporting this project in a number of ways. They are shipping out containers of PCs for use by staff and students.They are also supporting development of provision of small learning centres around Zambia and the development of e-learning and technical skills amongst staff at ZAOU.

An example of the innovative solutions that computeraid have developed to provide access to the Internet and ICT is this solar powered cybercafe which is built in a shipping container.


Computeraid have also helped ZAOUs development of elearning skills amongst its staff through funding two visits by myself to Zambia to run e-learning training sessions and a reciprocal visit from five ZAOU staff to Worcester College of Technology.

Pictures of Moodle Training  in Lusaka

Moodle training At Open University of Zambia

Moodle training at elearning conference

Moodle training at elearning conference Lusaka Zambia

Pictures of ZAOU visit to Worcester College of Technology

ZAOU and SLT meeting


Dust clouds permitting I’ ll flying back to Lusaka on Wednesday to do some more Moodle training with staff from ZAOU and a number of other universities.

I hope to do one or two more posts on James’s blog to let you all know how it’s going.

Finally please find out what happens to your organisations old computers and consider donating them to Computeraid.