During Covid (and even before) one thing at universities which was challenged in many ways was the design of courses. How courses are focused on lectures and students being told information, usually attending large lecture halls in person. Learning and course design is one thing we discussed with Teesside University, winner of Edufuturists University of the Year 2022.
They have created a toolkit to help support the redesign and creation of their courses with learning being the first thought, especially the learning journey of the students. This toolkit was done in Collaboration with Jisc and focuses on the following principles for their learning design:
- Developing authentic and creative learning experiences and assessments
- Preparing future ready digitally empowered learners
- Embedding digital literacy in courses
Developing authentic and creative learning experiences and assessments
It is great to hear that designing learning experiences which can be applied to a context and the real world is something which is now being applied to HE, and something we have discussed often across many podcasts. We also believe that choice and the ability to access varied assessments throughout the course is key. Learners need a choice on how they provide information and articulate it. As a group who produce podcasts, why is it that this creative medium is not seen more often as an assessment tool in learning, when over 464 million people globally listen to them for their personal learning and enjoyment? This is one example but hopefully programmes like this see an end to exam exam exam or assignment, assignment assignment. There are other ways to skin a cat!
Preparing future ready digitally empowered learners
In education, of course learning facts and being able to ‘know things’ is a key component but for decades, skills development has been overlooked. We know that people need to be able to communicate, collaborate and critically analyse information to be ready for life beyond school, college and university but so many employers continue to tell us that they have to spend time working with new employees when they make the step into work. To see these concepts and skills now being embedded and front and centre is something which we have been crying out for years and was so needed.
Embedding digital literacy in courses
Today, people work, socialise, communicate and do so much more in the digital world, and to neglect this fact is at the detriment of education. In the words of Sugata Mitra when he was on our podcast we need to ensure we solve new problems with new solutions and not try carrying on trying to solve these new problems with old solutions.
What Teesside has done is a strong step forward and it was great to explore it on the podcast, but we hope this becomes the norm and not something which is a niche or which only a handful of universities approach their learning pathways.