Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Viewpoints at the CIES Reward and Recognition Residential

The Viewpoints A0 worksheets were available for each group at the CIES Reward and Recognition Programme IV: E-facilitated Assessment and Feedback Residential event, at the Rosspark Hotel, Kells on 14th and 15th December 09.

This event gave each group the time to develop a reusable learning object as part of their assessment and feedback project. External facilitators Tom Boyle (RLO-CETL Director, London Metropolitan University) and Dawn Leeder (Reward and Development Manager, University of Cambridge) helped them with this task.

The Viewpoints worksheets, developed in the assessment and feedback sessions with each group (delivered from the 1st -11th December), proved to be a good starting point and valuable resource for each group whilst developing their projects at the Residential.

Each group commented on how useful the Viewpoints sessions and worksheets were in the final group presentations at the end of the event. The facilitators also commented that they felt each group was better prepared as a result of the Viewpoints sessions, compared to previous Residential programme groups.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Viewpoints Assessment and Feedback sessions (1-11th Dec 09)

Fiona Doherty and Catherine O’Donnell have been delivering Viewpoints assessment and feedback sessions to Ulster groups (consisting of several staff and a student) on the CETL Institutional E-learning Services (CIES) Reward and Recognition Programme IV: E-facilitated Assessment and Feedback.

The one-hour sessions let each group reflect on their chosen Reward and Recognition programme project. The session is based on six group tasks that encourage reflection, consider the student experience and provide some creative ideas on how to implement their project objective.

The hands-on session uses prompts, including a large laminated worksheet with a student timeline and nine assessment and feedback cards. The group work together using the worksheet, cards and markers to create an output tailored to address their chosen project objective.

The nine different coloured cards each depict an assessment and feedback principle (revised and adapted from the Re-engineering Assessment Practices (REAP) Project principles of good formative assessment and feedback). On the back of each card are several implementation ideas (revised and adapted from the QAA Enhancement Themes: The First Year Experience – Transforming assessment and feedback: enhancing interaction and empowerment in the first year
written by Professor David Nicol from the REAP Project).

Each participant gets an assessment and feedback pack at the end of the session. This pack contains several handouts that aim to bridge the gap between theory and practice at Ulster, e.g. the nine principles mapped to Ulster documentation (guidelines, strategies, etc.) and the principles mapped to e-learning technologies available at Ulster.

The completed worksheet outputs can then be used to help inform each group’s project development. The outputs are emailed to each group in a word document and as an image. The worksheets will be available for each group at the CIES Reward and Recognition Residential event on the 14th & 15th December at the Rosspark Hotel, Kells.

These initial sessions have been evaluated and will be analysed to inform future development of the Viewpoints workshops. Early feedback suggests that the sessions were very successful in helping the groups reflect on and plan their projects. One group member commented that the cards helped ‘to concentrate broad ideas’, while another said that the session ‘helped to clarify what is currently a problem for the group and provided some potential solutions’.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

CAMEL meeting, Open University

The second CAMEL meeting for JISC Curriculum Design Cluster C took place over two days, on the 11th and the 12th November at the Open University, Milton Keynes. Peter Bullen, our Critical Friend, chaired the sessions, attended by project representatives from the University of Ulster, University of Strathclyde and the Open University. Helen Beetham and Alison Muirhead also attended.

On the first day, Helen Beetham introduced a session on the cluster's recently completed project baseline reports, talking about issues arising from the three reports and highlighting similarities and differences. Afterwards, Alison Muirhead led a discussion about evaluation challenges and solutions, getting small groups to talk about potential ways of approaching evaluation.

Day 2 of the CAMEL meeting was centred around the Open University's recent work on curriculum design and curriculum representation. It kicked off with a short activity to get academics familiar with using Cloudworks, the Open University's social bookmarking system.

Simon Cross then talked to us about the recent survey looking at staff perceptions around learning design in the OU, and talked about Open University design solutions.

GrĂ¡inne Conole's session on course representations introduced a number of different course views being worked on at the Open University. You can view her presentation here:

Finally, Paul Mundin introduced a short session on curriculum mapping in the Open University.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

JISC Learning & Teaching Practice Experts Meeting

Alan Masson and Karen Virapen attended the Learning and Teaching Practice Experts meeting today at The Studio, Birmingham.

This meeting showed the group the newly launched Design Studio, and a group discussion on the development of this resource followed the presentation.

Breakout sessions for Cluster C and D Curriculum Design and Delivery projects gave delegates the chance to view the project posters (including the Viewpoints poster) and discuss the various challenges projects were facing. This session generated a lot of useful feedback or Viewpoints, which will help us when moving forward with tool development.

Selected members of the Experts group then showcased their work for delegates in presentation sessions (presentations are available on the JISC site).

Finally, Ros Smith chaired a group discussion around the area of e-assessment.

A Twitter feed from the meeting is available at http://twitter.com/#search?q=jiscexperts09.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

JISC Programme Meeting

Alan Masson and Fiona Doherty attended the joint two-day meeting for the Curriculum Design and Delivery Programmes at the Midland Hotel in Manchester.

The meeting provided the opportunity for the Curriculum Design and Delivery projects to network and gain an overview of each other’s work (by poster and video presentations) and to identify synergies between projects.

Further information about all the projects is available at:
Video presentations are available at: http://www.youtube.com/jisccdd

Projects were introduced to the Design Studio, a wiki based toolkit that draws together a range of existing and developing resources around the curriculum design and delivery and the role technology plays in supporting these processes.

The Viewpoints project fits best in the Initiate or review and Develop or redevelop nodes of the curriculum lifecycle.

Tweets from the programme meeting are available at: http://twitter.com/#search?q=jisccdd

Monday, 12 October 2009

Ulster Curriculum Design Processes

Catherine O'Donnell has mapped out Ulster curriculum design processes for the JISC Baseline Report.

These processes include:

- Course Revalidation
- Course & Subject Management
- Minor Revisions
- Quality Management & Audit
- New Course Approval

Each process has reference information, a framework and support feeding into it - and creates outputs with associated audiences. Fiona Doherty helped illustrate these mapped processes in a series of easy-to-understand colour-coded diagrams.

These diagrams are available to staff in the University of Ulster, in order to help them understand curriculum design processes.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Viewpoints video

Viewpoints now has a video about the project live on YouTube.

This video was originally created for the JISC Programme Meeting for its Curriculum Design and Delivery projects. All the videos and posters produced for this meeting provide an opportunity for the other projects to get an overview of everyone's work to date.

The video is just over three minutes long and gives an overview of our work to date, including interviews with four stakeholders within the University whose feedback has informed tool development.

Videos from all the other Curriculum Design and Delivery projects can be viewed via JISC's own YouTube channel.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Viewpoints Steering Group meeting

Viewpoints had its first official steering group meeting today.

Attendees included Viewpoints Director, Dr Alan Masson and Viewpoints staff, Critical Friend Peter Bullen, Ulster University Pro-Vice Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) Professor Denise McAlister, along with other key Ulster staff and attendees from outside the University. Professor Mark Stubbs from Manchester Metropolitan University chaired the group.

The meeting began by discussing possibilities for faculty membership, with Denise suggesting that we work with each Faculty Co-Ordinator to nominate a member of each faculty to work with us.

Discussions then moved into the work schedule over the life of the project – and staff briefly summarized tool developments so far, describing progress on the Student Profiler, Assessment and Feedback tool and the Information Skills tool.

The group also discussed potential accessibility of the potential tools. Suggestions included having specialized user groups for testing, creating an accessible version of the tools as a facilitated workshop, or creating an alternative paper-based version of the tools. It was agreed to investigate this issue further, looking at the work done by TechDis (in particular their work with Xerte).

After a brief discussion on national developments in curriculum design, the steering group meeting was concluded with an agreement to meet regularly every six months for the duration of the project.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Poster Presentation at ALT-C 2009

Dr Alan Masson presented a poster about the Viewpoints project at ALT-C 2009 today.

This annual Association for Learning Technology conference is being hosted in Manchester from 8-10th September, with the theme ‘In dreams begin responsibility’.

The poster was presented as part of a workshop session entitled ‘Representing and supporting curriculum design at task, module and programme levels’ delivered by the Curriculum Design Programme Cluster Group ‘C’. This group consisted of Alan Masson (University of Ulster), Catherine Owen (University of Strathclyde), Simon Cross (Open University) and was facilitated by Peter Bullen (critical friend to the project cluster).

The workshop session used an interactive poster approach to give participants an overview of the work of the three projects to date. Participants were encouraged to engage with each poster, adding post-it notes and questions about the different project approaches. This stimulated conversations about curriculum design representations whilst considering the challenges for developing these for different audiences. Participants were also encouraged to consider how work done by each project could apply to their own particular context.

The Viewpoints poster illustrates our tool framework of ‘inform’, ‘inspire’ and ‘plan’ which helps academics to create student-centred curriculum design. The poster highlights various key elements of the project, including the emphasis on the student experience, the five different strands of the tool, delivery methods, possible applications, different tool perspectives (Module View and Course View), tool outputs and expected benefits and challenges.

Viewpoints Poster

The poster session provoked a great deal of debate and interest in the Viewpoints project, providing a useful opportunity for wider dissemination and feedback.

Further information on ALT-C 2009:
Keynote speakers and invited speakers sessions are available online via at http://elluminate.alt.ac.uk/ (select ‘Recordings’ for 8th - 10th September).
ALT Twitter channel available at: http://twitter.com/A_L_T.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Feedback on the Information Skills tool

The Information Skills tool is now at the initial development stage and is now ready for market testing and feedback, so that Viewpoints can develop further versions.

Today Karen Virapen met with Colette McKenna, User Services Librarian, and the team of Sub-Librarians from the University of Ulster. It's important that we get detailed feedback from librarians about the tool at this early stage, as they work closely with academics and students in delivering information skills training.

All the librarians have been invited to an online social network area in Ning, where they can comment on tool prototypes and feed back on any aspects of the design or content.

We hope that collaboration with the library will prove useful in developing useful resources for the Information Skills tool, that will eventually help module co-ordinators and course directors plan their courses.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Progress to date: tool overviews

Instructional Technologists Karen Virapen and Fiona Doherty presented their tool walkthroughs to the Viewpoints team today. Colette Murphy from Staff Development and Vilinda Ross from Access and Distributed Learning also attended the meeting to give their feedback.

The aim of the meeting was to showcase the work done on the Assessment and Feedback tool and the Information Skills tool to date. Both tools are at the stage of wireframe development, where actions and user choices are drawn out, screen by screen, to show how the tool might function.

Based on the feedback from today, the team will make refinements to the prototype tools , and once the data implications have been considered, make some decisions on possible technologies to use in creating the tools.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Initial market testing of the Assessment & Feedback Reflective Tool

Fiona Doherty has been meeting with academic staff from across various faculties to carry out some initial market testing of the Assessment & Feedback Reflective Tool. This involves showing a mock-up screenshot of the Assessment & Feedback Reflective Tool and interviewing staff to get their feedback on it.

The staff provide their views on: the tool concept, how to use the tool, potential issues, and the possible application in their own practice – processes such as new course design, revalidation and evidence for staff probation.

This initial market testing has helped to prove the validity of the tool. The feedback will help refine the tool - moving it forward to the wire-framing phase and the development of the tool prototype.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Professor David Boud visits Ulster

The Centre for Higher Education Practice organised a series of useful events with visiting Professor David Boud this week.

Professor David Boud has been involved in research and teaching development in adult, higher and professional education for over 30 years and has contributed extensively to the literature.

The events this week included:

• Assessment of group work – Case study presentations from Ulster staff
• Research Day – Pedagogic research and getting published
Assessment Futures – Website resource providing ideas, strategies, examples and support relating to key assessment elements.

The assessment sessions were of particular interest to the Viewpoints project, as David Boud’s literature has informed the REAP principles which are being used in the Assessment & Feedback Reflective Tool. The Assessment Futures resource takes a similar approach to the proposed Assessment and Feedback tool – by beginning with assessment elements and using ideas and examples to encourage reflection and help to enhance practice.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Visit to the University of Strathclyde

Alan Masson and Fiona Doherty spent today with the Principles in Patterns (PiP) project at the University of Strathclyde. This provided the opportunity to follow up on identified synergies established at the initial cluster CAMEL event in April - giving us the chance to share ideas and practice and allowing for discussion and debate around both projects.

The day began with David Nicols and Catherine Owen briefing us on the REAP change model. They explained how the REAP project supported academic staff by embedding the REAP principles into successful curriculum designs, resulting in measurable improvements and institutional change. In the afternoon Fiona Doherty updated the PiP team on how the Viewpoints project is proposing to make use of the REAP principles and techniques in the Assessment & Feedback Reflective Tool and how all proposed tools will work together at the curriculum design level.

Alan Masson also briefed the team on the various tools developed by the Ulster CETL Institutional E-Learning Services (CIES) including the Hybrid Learning Model, Practice Exchange Repository and the E-Learning Tools & Technologies Database.

We also met up with Sheila MacNeill, Assistant Director, JISC CETIS, to update her on the progress of the Viewpoints project. We discussed many aspects such as: project outputs, base line approach, evaluation process, the projects unique selling point and preferred data schemas. Sheila has posted details of this meeting at: http://prod.cetis.ac.uk/projects/viewpoints

Many thanks to the PiP team, in particular Catherine Owen, for organising and hosting the meeting.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Queen's CED Assessment and Feedback Conference

Instructional Technologists Fiona Doherty and Karen Virapen attended Queen's CED Assessment and Feedback Conference, held over two days on the 19th and 20th May in the Lanyon Building.

This conference is particularly relevant and timely, as Viewpoints are currently developing an Assessment and Feedback tool as part of their suite of reflective curriculum tools for University staff.

Keynote speakers at this conference were Dr Chris Rust from Oxford Brookes University, and Professor David Nicol from the University of Strathclyde. David Nicol is the director of the REAP project, as well as working on one of the JISC Curriculum Design Projects in our cluster group, PiP (Principles in Patterns).

Both Rust and Nicol stressed the need to engage and empower students regarding assessment and feedback. Both keynote speakers presented ideas of what constituted good practice, along with numerous examples of how to put these principles into practice. Their evidence showed that good assessment and feedback practices enhance learning in the following ways:
  • Improved student satisfaction
  • Better student grades
  • Decreased teaching/preparation time for staff
  • More enjoyable experiences for staff and students alike.
Queen's academic staff presented a series of interesting and engaging parallel sessions, covering a range of topics such as using Jing screencast software for feedback, skills assessment, online assessment tools and making feedback effective.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

JISC Curriculum Design programme meeting

Viewpoints staff Alan Masson, Fiona Doherty and Karen Virapen attended this one-day JISC Curriculum Design meeting at the Aston Lakeside Centre, Birmingham. 50 delegates from the 12 different Curriculum Design projects were invited.

The theme of the day's workshop was 'Transformation: managing and measuring change'. We looked at change strategies, ways to measure change, and stakeholder engagement.

This event was a good opportunity for the two Instructional Technologists, Fiona Doherty and Karen Virapen, to meet key members of the JISC programme team, including Sarah Knight and Marianne Sheppard.

We also had a chance to talk to delegates from the other JISC-sponsored projects. The final discussion session with our Critical Friend Peter Bullen and members of our JISC cluster group allowed us to follow up ideas from the CAMEL meeting which took place in April. Catherine Owen, Project Manager of the Strathclyde PiP project let us know that the cluster has had a paper accepted for the ALT-C Conference in September of this year.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Stakeholders Engagement meeting with CHEP

The Viewpoints team were invited to a meeting in Magee to brief staff from two of the Centre for Higher Education Practice working groups, Creativity in the Curriculum and Research and Practice in HE.

This meeting was a chance for the team to brief staff on the work of Viewpoints to date.

Presentations on the day included the following:
The meeting generated a lot of useful debate on assessment, student cohorts and curriculum design processes, and the feedback from this meeting will inform future development of Viewpoints tools. We also identified synergies in the work that we are doing and looked at possible ways we could work together with CHEP members.

This is the first in a series of Ulster stakeholder engagement meetings that will take place in the next few months.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

CAMEL Meeting, University of Strathclyde

This two-day event was a chance to re-connect with the other projects in our cluster, for the first time since the programme start-up meeting in October. It was a good opportunity to find out what work was going on in both the PiP project (University of Strathclyde) and the Open University's curriculum design initiative.

On the first day, all three projects introduced the work done so far. PiP are building on the work already done as part of their University's REAP project, and are now busy trying embed the principles within University practice. They aim to do the following:
  • take a new approach to curriculum design
  • articulate what is happening now in curriculum design, including the gaps/blocks
  • streamline institutional processes
  • discover what materials would be useful for staff.
The Open University are reflecting on what constitutes 'good practice' - good pedagogy, cost-effectiveness and innovation - and they shared information on some of their initiatives to date, including Compendium, a tool for visualising learning designs, and Cloudworks, a social bookmarking tool for academics to share designs.

Feedback on our own presentation was useful and thought-provoking - and highlighted various challenges to our own project, which will inform further work.

The second day's work focused on ways to represent curriculum design and map it at curriculum level - and for a detailed discussion on this, see GrĂ¡inne Conole's e4innovation blog.

The CAMEL meeting seems to have created more questions than answers, but it stimulated a lot of lively and often thought-provoking debate!

Friday, 3 April 2009

Visit from our Critical Friend, Peter Bullen

Today, all the Viewpoints staff met our 'Critical Friend' for our JISC Curriculum Design cluster, Professor Peter Bullen.

Peter currently works as director of the Blended Learning Unit (BLU) at Hertfordshire University, as well as advising the three projects in Curriculum Design Cluster C (University of Strathclyde, the Open University and ourselves).

His role is to give us advice and guidance of what's going on in the sector, encourage us to review our progress, act as an ambassador for the project and to foster links between different projects, where possible.

Our all-day meeting covered a lot of ground. After introductions, Project Director Alan Masson gave a condensed account of the project's aims and direction.

This was followed by a brief presentation of Version 1 of the 'Student Profiler' - an interactive tool to allow staff to think about their student cohort, and the opportunities and risks that might involve. This tool takes the form of a wheel that staff can manipulate to give them an insight into the student group. The simple, yet effective, visual representation lets them think about the course from the student perspective.

Fiona Doherty then presented the second item in development - an interactive tool to help staff with assessment and feedback in their courses. This tool is based around the University of Strathclyde's REAP principles of good assessment, and works by letting staff apply these ideas to a typical student timeline.

Peter was encouraging about the work done so far, and suggested that we be more open about our ideas, showing people outputs as early as possible, in order to get informed feedback early on. To do this, we are creating an invitation-only Ning network online, where we can demo work in beta and get feedback.

Catherine O'Donnell, our Academic E-Learning Consultant and adviser, is involved in mapping all the current curriculum processes in the University - a huge task, but a vital one, as it tells us where Viewpoints work can fit in with current University of Ulster practices.

Peter flagged up our upcoming JISC CAMEL meeting, where our cluster will discuss links, ideas and areas for collaboration. The next CAMEL meeting will take place in Strathclyde in April.

Finally, we talked about stakeholder involvement, thinking about ideas like 'train the trainers' workshops and targeting key figures in each of the academic schools.

It was good for everyone to finally meet Peter and get his perspective on our work - and we look forward to working with him more.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Assessment and Feedback Workshop, Higher Education Academy

Instructional Techologists Fiona Doherty and Karen Virapen attended the HEA Assessment & Feedback Workshop in York, designed to support the JISC Curriculum Design and Delivery programmes. This one-day event looked at general overarching issues in assessment.

During the day we were presented with examples of how change in assessment has become embedded in the curriculum in institutional practice. Presentations were delivered from the HEA and several universities, all of which are available on the HEA website.

JISC Curriculum Programmes – Case Studies

This event gave us the opportunity to find out more about two other JISC Curriculum programmes, the University of Hertfordshire ESCAPE Project and the University of Westminster eReflect Project.

Mark Russell from ESCAPE talked about how they are mapping technology to learning using Chickering & Gamson’s Principles and mapping technology to assessment using the REAP Principles. This has similarities with current Viewpoints work mapping C&G and REAP to a student timeline. Further information on the ESCAPE project is available at: http://escape-uh-jisc.blogspot.com/

Gunter Saunders, eReflect, University of Westminster explained how the eReflect project is developing a student centred process for reflection on feedback.

REAP Project - embedding good practice principles

Catherine Owens from the University of Strathclyde and Steve Draper from the University of Glasgow talked about the success of the REAP Project. In a case study of 1st year Psychology students, student performance improved considerably after the REAP Project redesigned their assessment and feedback practice based on REAP Principles.

This was a very useful and informative day for our project, as we are currently developing the Assessment and Feedback tool for Viewpoints, and a lot of the information has synergies with the work that we will be doing.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

About Viewpoints


At Viewpoints, we believe that learners should be at the heart of teaching and learning. But how does this apply when designing a course?

Viewpoints, a JISC-funded project in the University of Ulster, are creating a series of simple, user-friendly reflective tools (both online and workshop versions) for staff to use, promoting and enhancing good curriculum design.

All our services aim to simplify the course design process, bringing key curriculum information and prompts together in a simple, succinct way. Our tools and workshops will help staff think about course development from a fresh new perspective - putting the learner at the centre of any course.


Viewpoints can help staff develop any part of a course - from re-working a module, right up to new course design or course revalidation level.

We focus on four different aspects of course design – assessment and feedback, information skills, student interactions and creativity and innovation. We also help you focus on different key points in the student life cycle - from induction to course completion - and consider how these might affect students' learning experiences. Above all, we help to focus attention on a course from the student perspective.


We will ask staff some simple questions about learners or learning perspectives. Based on these responses, they will be given some prompts and feedback that will help them plan and create better course documents.

Tools like the Student Profiler will focus on key issues, such as: who exactly are your students? What cohort issues (such as size of group, academic issues, etc.) might affect the course and how it is designed or delivered?

The output documents from Viewpoints sessions will let staff reflect on and plan their curricula from a new perspective, helping them to tailor courses to the needs of today's learners. These outputs can also be used to inform students about their particular course.

View/Download PDF - About Viewpoints

Project Team

Alan Masson, Director, aj.masson@ulster.ac.uk

Sharon Hayes, Project Administrator, saj.hayes@ulster.ac.uk

Fiona Doherty, Instructional Technologist, fp.doherty@ulster.ac.uk

Karen Virapen, Instructional Technologist, k.virapen@ulster.ac.uk

James Gheel, Senior Systems Developer, j.gheel@ulster.ac.uk

Damien McConville, Academic E-Learning Consultant, d.mcconville@ulster.ac.uk

Catherine O’Donnell, Academic E-Learning Consultant, c.odonnell@ulster.ac.uk

Project Memory

As the project progresses, it's become more important to manage the flow of information - and keep a record of what has happened during the project, both for ourselves and for people interested in Viewpoints.

There is a huge variety of online multimedia tools available that promise to simplify information handling - but we've decided to stick with a few well tried-and-tested editing tools.

This blog will be the main public information site - for people both inside and outside the university. It'll be updated regularly by team members, so anyone reading can quickly log on and find out what's happening, or comment online if they want to discuss any issues. Blogging is a great way to track ideas and progress over time, so hopefully readers will get a sense of how Viewpoints is developing.

For internal communication within the project team, we'll be sharing ideas via our Viewpoints wiki - it's a great way to collaborate on group documents and plans, especially if some team members are off-site. It also eliminates the need for multiple emails pinging round - a huge benefit in this age of overstuffed inboxes!

Some of our work in development will be shared via a closed Ning site. (Ning is a platform for creating your own secure social network). Here, stakeholders and key supporters can comment on work in beta.

To share links, useful articles and research we've found that support what we're doing, delicious is a great resource. Delicious is a Social Bookmarking service, which means you can save all your bookmarks online, share them with other people, and see what other people are bookmarking. You can see Viewpoints bookmarks all in one place here.

All our photos are held online - Viewpoints photos can be seen via the photo sharing site Flickr, and in time we hope to add videos on Youtube, to share case studies and digital stories from users.

From time to time we will also share presentations about the project, and these can now be viewed online via Slideshare, an online slide presentation tool. Keep checking back to see if new presentations have been added.

Finally, you can see our sample student timeline by visiting Dipity and scrolling to view the student life cycle at university.

All these tools will help us maintain a project memory and show how work is progressing from week to week.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Understanding our audience: Stakeholder analysis

This was another crucial planning day for Viewpoints. This time, our goal was to work out who the important stakeholders are for the project, and how exactly they might inform our work, or spread the word about us.

We started by identifying a list of potential internal (i.e. within the University) and external stakeholders, and then mapped them to a list of categories from the JISC Infonet process review document - Strategic, Managerial, Operational, Direct Influence and Indirect Influence. We added two additional categories - Champion (for people who can promote the project on a wider basis) and Support (for those involved in development with us, who might not necessarily use the tools themselves.)

After today, we have a much clearer picture of the people who can influence the direction of the project and its outputs. We hope to begin meetings with internal stakeholders in the next few weeks.

Monday, 23 February 2009

New Project Administrator appointed

Sharon McCaffrey has just been appointed to Viewpoints as the Project Administrator while the current administrator is on sabbatical.

Sharon has nine years of experience in the University of Ulster, working in administrative roles across a range of schools, research institutes and central departments. She is currently working o a part-time Masters in Human Rights Law.

Sharon's interests include social rights issues, civil society engagement and advocacy and human rights issues. She is also a keen animal lover.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Project Planning Day - the first cut

With the expanded team in place, four members of Viewpoints - Alan Masson, Fiona Doherty, James Gheel and Karen Virapen - got together for an intensive project planning day.

The point of the day was to clarify some key areas for the project, as well as creating a draft project plan mapping out the process of creating each 'tool'.

We started by brainstorming as many ideas as possible onto a series of Post-Its - then grouped these on a whiteboard, as distinct themes began to emerge.

In Stage 2, we described four important areas -
  • People (i.e. internal and external groups who could be key to the project)
  • Outputs (tools and services that we plan to create)
  • Project Memory (ways to capture plans and record project activities)
  • Evaluation and Feedback (gauging if Viewpoints has been successful)
After lunch, we created a draft workplan, taking in all the stages of scoping and creating the planned Viewpoints tools and services. It was a productive - if somewhat exhausting - day! No doubt this plan will continue to evolve, but we have a useful starting point for the work to follow.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Two Instructional Technologists appointed

Viewpoints have just recruited two new full-time staff to the project. Fiona Doherty and Karen Virapen have been appointed as Instructional Technologists, to work on the multimedia tools and services to help staff think about their curriculum design.

Fiona and Karen have both worked for three years in the University of Ulster in the CETL Institutional E-learning Services (CIES) centre.

They bring a variety of experience in the fields of multimedia design and development, visual storyboarding, online writing and editing, and delivering workshops and educational training. Both are looking forward to taking up their new posts at this key point in the project.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Alan Masson introduces Viewpoints

Today, Project Director Alan Masson gave a short presentation on Viewpoints to staff in Access and Distributed Learning in the University. For many ADL staff, this was their first introduction to Viewpoints and its aims - namely, helping staff think about their curriculum design.

Alan gave a brief overview of the project, highlighting the five key strands for examination -
  • Assessment and feedback
  • Resources and information management
  • Communities
  • Teaching and learning
  • Module pathways
He also touched on the theoretical basis which will inform Viewpoints work in these five areas - such as the University of Strathclyde's REAP principles and the SCONUL Seven Pillars of Information Literacy Model.

A full copy of the presentation can be viewed below: