Digital Education has now run 21 of our popular rapid learning design workshops. ABC uses an effective and engaging paper card-based method in a 90 minute hands-on workshop. It is based on research from the JISC and UCL IoE and over the last year has helped 70 module and course teams design and sequence engaging learning activities. It has proved particularly useful for new programmes or those changing to an online or more blended format.
To find out if ABC is for you this short video captured one of our workshops earlier this year.
“I thought the ABC session was really helpful. I had been a little unsure ahead of the session what it would achieve – but I genuinely got a lot from it. Going back to the basics of methods etc really helped focus on the structure and balance of the module. I thought the output was very useful.”
“Thank you for convening the abc workshop today, i found it thought provoking and challenged the way we think about our teaching. It is too easy to stick to what we have done previously and I found today gave me different ways to think about how to evaluate our current teaching and to bring in different approaches. It will definitely improve my thinking and I will continue with the approach to incorporate some of the ideas into the modules.”
“Thank you for the workshop today- it was an eye opener. I found it really useful to think about categorising how the learning objectives will be delivered and assessed, and examining the variety of ways that these can be achieved. It made me think more deeply about what skills the students can develop by making them responsible for their learning journey and not simply the content that needs to be delivered to them. We will let you know how it goes!”
“It was great and many initiatives have emerged from it.”
For questions and workshops contact Clive and Nataša
We are currently developing an online toolkit to support the workshop, have been working closely with CALT to embed the Connected Curriculum in designs and we are developing collaboration projects with The University of Glasgow, Aarhus University (Denmark), University of Leiden (Netherland) and Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez (Chile) in order to look at the learning impact of this method. Our colleagues in Chile are even translating the workshop into Spanish.
You can follow the link and listen to my chosen soundtrack whilst reading this blog. The link is embedded in the image above and will open in a new window.
So why exactly did we ask participants of the workshop run at the UCLU Education conference to build and decorate a cardboard box which explained their digital journey to UCL – asking them to use Lear’s masterpiece – Owl and Pussycat  as inspiration for their own story?
Well, the simple answer was that we wanted to gain insight into the student digital journey to UCL. Faced with survey fatigue from students and our desire to hear what they think we felt this would be a lot more fun to do than another Opinio!
You can hear what one participant had to say about it all – and make your own mind up about how well the workshop went by following the link below to the UCLU Education Conference YouTube video and a 1.5min interview with a participant sharing feedback and their thoughts about the session.
…and if you are wondering why I chose the song – well it’s all about challenging conformity
References and Notes
 Little boxes (2016) in Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Boxes (Accessed: 5 March 2016).
ESL and Popular Culture (2012) The owl and the pussycat ~ poem with text. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSjNk5Fi_6Y (Accessed: 6 March 2016).
Please click on the image above to see more photographs from this session.
I’ve blogged previously about the work that Jisc are doing in the field of learning analytics. Whilst there are some good case studies within the sector, informal conversations have indicated that most institutions are really only at the start of their analytics journey, or even simply keeping a watching brief on how the sector as a whole will act. Where institutions do have systems in place, they are often based on quite limited data sources (typically attendance data, VLE usage or library usage) rather than more holistic data sets covering a range of student experiences.
A comprehensive picture of the current state of play is provided by From Bricks to Clicks: the Potential of Data and Analytics in Higher Education, a Higher Education Commission report which summarises the field and provides recommendations to institutions. A small number of pioneering institutions (Nottingham Trent, Open, Edinburgh) feature heavily as case studies, but the general argument is that universities are generating significant amounts of data about learning but are not yet in a position to use this data to support student success.
At UCL, early discussions around the use of analytics have started. Our retention rates are generally good, but there is a feeling that students may leave their course due to social or economic factors – perhaps living in poor accommodation, feeling isolated, having financial difficulties or commuting into London. We think we might need quite a large dataset to model these parameters (if they can be modelled at all) although it is possible that attendance would be a good proxy for them. Certainly our journey into learning analytics is only just beginning.
Employability is something of the elephant in the room in higher education. We dream of students enthralled at learning new knowledge, making discoveries of their own as they develop their curiosity and strengthening their identities as they work with others.
For many of course, the reality is that they are undertaking their programme of study to get a good ‘job’ at the end. I use quotation marks because the nature of the ‘job’ may be wide and varied: it might be traditional employed work; self-employment; voluntary work; portfolio working; or a combination of these.
ABC Curriculum tour dates for 2016 and Summary of 2015
For questions and workshops contact Clive and Nataša
Book us early! We start our ABC 2016 tour with a visit to Glasgow!
The ABC curriculum design method uses an effective and engaging paper card-based approach in a 90 minute hands-on workshop. It is based on research from the JISC and UCL IoE and designed to help module teams design engaging learning activities. It is particularly useful for new programmes or those changing to an online or more blended format. More information below.
December 2015 – ALT Winter Conference webinar
The ABCs of rapid blended course design by Clive Young and Nataša Perović. Recording of the session is available to view here: http://go.alt.ac.uk/1NIpziZ
December 2015 – A brief overview of ABC curriculum design method by Clive
October 2015 – Presentation about the ABC workshops