some brief notes…

This QAA webinar was introduced by Dr. Ferney and gave some general observations about curriculum design and noted that they commonly concern themselves with the following questions; What is to be learnt, Why it is to be learnt, How is to be learnt, When is to be leant, How is learning to be demonstrated, How we know it works.

One way to see curriculum design in more detail is to see it as a an ‘Academic Plan’:

  1. Purpose – Intended learning outcomes
  2. Content – Units and modules requires to deliver the outcomes.
  3. Sequence –running order of units or modules (learner journey)
  4. Learners
  5. Instruction processes – medium of delivery (Analogue, Blended or hybrid?)
  6. Instructional resources VLE, Library..(Analogue or diital)
  7. Evaluation Course monitoring
  8. Adjustment _ action plans for change

See Lattuca and Stark ‘Shaping the College curriculum; Action plan in action (2009)

Contructive alignment “CA starts with the notion that the learner constructs their own learning through relevant learning activities” (Biggs, 2003,) the nature of that alignment may be different in online and F2F environments.

Some general points about online environments:

  • Gradual move from analogue to digital approaches in Most HEIs
  • Entirely online courses or micro-credentials in some HEIs
  • Variance between designing curricula for online and in-person delivery
  • Impact of COVID-10 – digital learning has never been higher on the agenda – most institutions have opted for a Hybrid mode of learning.


Allan Howells – Associate PVC – University of Derby

(Derby 19.500 students – 100+ courses online)

Important theme – cultural change – and infrastructure of the institution is very important.

Quality should not differ in a digital environment.

Quality in the digital environment:

  • Need a ‘Strategic and holistic approach’
  • Investment + tools plus time
  • Multi skilled approach to provide flexible and innovative pedagogies_( have the right people in the room – Its not about the technology)
  • Positive results if done well (NSS)
  • Retrofit will offer/all only limited opportunities.

COVID_ 19: catalyst the lesson learnt:

  • Enhanced digital skills and capability (Staff and students – eg digital poverty eg broadband and space to operate in)
  • Staff development – pushed voluntary digital programme where staff became students (‘Best of Blends’ digital programme) – staff became learners)
  • Technological solutions and alternative solutions (eg learner support)
  • Pace of change and sustainability (cant be rushed must be thought through)
  • Unexpected outcomes – eg students not using cameras..

Kabir Ganguly – University of Birmingham

6 pillers of CD:

  1. Design outline: Create personas – Why should a join/ who am I/ What will I achieve? How will I achieve it? A A full journey map detailing the 12 week learner journey – live document cross ref to different learning types (SKU Matrix)
  2. Learner journey – Full journey map for 12 weeks. Maps all the learning activities.
  3. UX learner design. Design storyboarded design pages
  4. Quality assurance protocol – Team build the course pages (not done by academics) – Consistent design QA documents cover; video/images/audio/text/accessibility
  5. Quality approval 3 stages of the QA process 1. Academic peer review 2. education enterprise review 3. Future learn independent review
  6. Transition to run Sign off completion- analytics reporting- future improvements – success reporting – gain insights and knowledge for next iteration

Ann Thanaraj – Teeside university

  1. Learning design is paramount
  2. Culture change
  3. Resilience – of curriculum practice and learning
  4. Expertise in a central unit coaching model
  5. Appreciating the difference between online and classroom learning

Systematic Learning Journey (Design principles)

Seven stages: 1. Planning your module 2. Introducing your module to your students 3. Structuring your weekly content and or topic 4. Designing collaboration and construction of knowledge 5. Formative – putting learning into application 6. Designing your summative assignments 7. Wrap up your module.

3 key aspects of learning design

  1. Map all aspects of learning to student outcomes
  2. Teacher presence and the significance of the academic in all aspects of curriculum design
  3. Participatory learning – communication, collaboration and construction of knowledge.

Robust culture change and resilience – Supporting people and practice enabling the art of the possible unleashing creativity within the subject disciplines.

Pivoting from the campus to online and hybrid modes: different does not mean inferior it is a change in expectation, ways of think and ways of practice.

Will Naylor & Selva Pankaj – Regent College London

Student engagement in online learning – Regent College has done some recent research based on focus groups (although not much else was said about the research methodology)



How are students accessing the course? 29% using phones – 57% using laptops – 8% tablets. What were students doing during the session? 33% messaging classmates – 24% on social media – 16% messaging non-classmates- 9% playing with pets.

What can your tutor do to help? 90% Make everyone feel positive and emotionally comfortable before the start – 93% summarise the key points 94% give a clear introduction at the start at what will be covered.

What aspects of online delivery they enjoyed the most – domestic comfort- Interactivity and some individual tutors – Barriers: Poor quality connections and devise problems – Personality differences in student engagement – High anxiety students find online learning more difficult (which maybe contradicts other research).


Best ways to support learning: top 3 answers – 1.Summarise the key points at the end of the session. 2. Give clear instructions at the start 3. Make everyone feel positive and emotionally comfortable before the start – revealed a high correlation between what the staff and students thought.


  1. Make sure staff give clear instructions, summarise main points, make students feel comfortable at start of session.
  2. Modify module feedback forms to incorporate questions on digital delivery
  3. Advise against poor practice eg. Using smartphones in webinars
  4. Make assessment of students’ digital skills a core part of induction
  5. Highlight awareness of individual differences and the general dividend of inclusiveness
  6. Produce a ‘student guide to digital learning’

Some overall takeaways:

  • Cultural change is really import, how do we change the culture of the institution? – several presenters mentioned this but didn’t really have time to explore this in detail.
  • People not just technology is key – having the right people in place and working together is very important. Also, providing support especially for teaching staff is important as we move to online modes of delivery.
  • Student feedback stresses the importance of providing emotional support, clear instructions and overall summaries of sessions.