Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Revalidation event, Belfast Campus

Catherine O'Donnell, Jill Harrison and Karen Virapen today delivered a Viewpoints workshop session as part of a Revalidation event at Belfast Campus, arranged by Roisin Curran in Staff Development.

Staff from different Art and Design courses who are preparing for revalidation next year attended this workshop. There were about 50 staff attending, in ten groups arranged around the different courses.

Staff were encouraged to consider their courses with the help of Viewpoints prompts - using Assessment and Feedback, Information Skills, and Creativity and Innovation course level cards, and working around course-level laminates. (The Learner Engagement strand was also presented to staff as an option - Learner Engagement cards are currently under development.)

Staff discussed their courses in their teams, noted ideas and action points on the course laminates, and presented their ideas to the group at the end of the session.

Slides from the Viewpoints session are available online:

A Viewpoints revalidation diagram explains the process in more detail and has some useful embedded links for staff. It can be downloaded from Slideshare.
All the resources used in the workshop (worksheets, course level cards, Assessment and Feedback, Creativity and Information Skills module level cards) are available for view or download from the Viewpoints Flickr photostream.

Photos from the day are also available on Flickr.

Friday, 3 December 2010

CAMEL meeting, Open University

The fourth CAMEL meeting for JISC Curriculum Design Cluster C took place over two days, on the 2nd and 3rd December at the Open University, Milton Keynes.

Peter Bullen, our Critical Friend, chaired the sessions, attended by project representatives from the University of Ulster, the Open University, and University of Strathclyde (virtually via FlashMeeting). The theme of the meeting was 'cluster output'.

Day 1 began by talking about project overlaps and it was agreed that what we are all doing could be described as:

Changing culture - individual, team, and institutional processes to improve learning design and therefore the experiences of students.

The project teams are changing culture by the following means:

• Promoting a Curriculum Design language

• Providing frameworks for Curriculum Design (i.e. decision-making frameworks)

• Encouraging and supporting collaboration, reflection and dialogue

• Prompting ideas for Curriculum Design

• Identifying, developing and using catalysts for change (i.e. approval processes)

We then had a brainstorming activity to come up with ideas of possible outputs/artefacts.
We agreed that the cluster should explore the idea of running/leading an online conference based around a theme, which asks the question: 'What needs to change in curriculum design?'

Day 2 began by recapping on ideas discussed from day 1 and then the teams explored a second possible cluster output – podcasts, which could also be used for the online conference.
We finished the day by planning our next steps.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Assessment and Feedback workshop for Ulster PgCHEP course

Dr Alan Masson (Magee Campus) and Catherine O'Donnell (Jordanstown Campus) delivered 'Week 6: Assessment and Feedback' on the Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education course (PgCHEP) today.

This lesson included an introduction to Viewpoints curriculum design materials and an Assessment and Feedback workshop for PgCHEP students.

Students worked in small groups while considering a scenario of their own choice. The sessions were well received and the Viewpoints team have been asked to do a similar session on the course in 2011.

Photos from the sessions are available on the Viewpoints Flickr photostream.

The slides from this session are available via Slideshare.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Viewpoints steering group meeting

Viewpoints had their third ever steering group meeting today in Jordanstown campus.

Attendees included Viewpoints Director Alan Masson and his team, chair Professor Mark Stubbs from Manchester Metropolitan University, our Critical Friend, Peter Bullen, Director of Access and Distributed Learning, Sylvia Alexander, Shiela MacNeill from JISC CETIS, and key Ulster stakeholders from across the University.

Firstly, the minutes from the previous meeting in April were read and approved by the group. Director Alan Masson reported on the activities of Viewpoints from April until October of this year, aided by comments and feedback from steering group members, who had received the report a week in advance, in order to give them time to comment. The group members asked for clarifications during Alan's presentation, and made suggestions as to specific content.

All comments and suggestions from the steering group will be incorporated into the draft report, which will then be finalised by the Viewpoints team and sent to JISC as our definitive Interim Report for this reporting period.

The steering group stakeholders were extremely enthusiastic and positive about the work done by Viewpoints during this reporting period, and made a number of constructive suggestions and additions to content. These suggestions and advice should help the Viewpoints team work towards final tool development and dissemination, as we enter the final year of the project.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

JISC Joint Programme Meeting: Curriculum Design and Curriculum Delivery

Catherine O’Donnell and Jill Harrison both attended the JISC Joint Programme Meeting: Curriculum Design and Curriculum Delivery on 12th and 13th October 2010 at the National College for School Leadership, Nottingham.

The theme of the workshop was “Delivering the Benefits: from Project to Institutional Enhancement”. Guest Speakers were Peter Findlay - Assistant Director of the QAA and Professor Betty Collis - Learning Technology Consultant.

The meeting provided an opportunity to view the work completed by the Curriculum Delivery projects and gain an overview of lessons learnt by these projects.

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

Friday, 17 September 2010

Viewpoints videos now more accessible

Viewpoints videos are now more accessible to a wider range of users - they all now have closed captions available in YouTube. All of our subsequent videos and 'digital stories' will also use closed captions.

'Closed captions' are subtitles that appear on screen as a video plays, providing a text representation of the audio content of the video. They are called 'closed' as they can be turned on and off according to the user's preference.

Captioning video is good standard practice - it helps meet W3C accessibility guidelines by allowing users with hearing impairments to access the audio content of the video.

It can also benefit users with no audio playback hardware, mobile users sited in a quiet area (like a library), those learning to speak a non-native language, or in an environment when the audio is difficult to make out.

To sample closed captioning in YouTube, you can view either of the videos below.

  1. Click Play on the chosen video, then hover over the grey-and-white triangular button on the bottom right of the YouTube screen (second from the right).

  2. Then, select the CC (closed caption) button that pops up, and your captions should appear automatically.

  3. To make the captions disappear again, follow the same process, hover over the triangular button and deselect the CC button this time.

Notice how the captions are synced with the audio - this is all done with automatic timecodes.

Do you want to know how to add closed captions to your YouTube videos? Follow this simple step-by-step guide written by Viewpoints, which will walk you through the straightforward process. (You can download this document from SlideShare as well, if you want a copy on your hard drive.)

As a rough guide, it will take 30-50 minutes to create and upload captions for a 3-minute YouTube video. A simple online tool specified in this document (with full instructions for use) will help you add timecodes so that your text is synced properly to the audio on screen.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Viewpoints workshop delivered at ALT-C conference

Catherine O'Donnell and Alan Masson delivered an interactive Viewpoints workshop today at the ALT-C 2010 conference in Nottingham, the 17th International Conference for the Association for Learning Technology.

The workshop was entitled 'Encouraging creativity and reflection in the curriculum', and aimed to stimulate constructive dialogue around curriculum planning, allow collaboration and creativity, and help participants plan a student-centred curriculum design model.

The workshop was one hour in duration and allowed participants to try out one aspect of the Viewpoints tool strand in a hands-on session. Afterwards, participants or interested parties can communicate via the forum on the Viewpoints social networking Ning area (sign-up required).

Slides from this workshop are available to view here:

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Creativity workshop in Belfast Campus

Alan Masson, Catherine O'Donnell, Roisin Curran and Jill Harrison today delivered a Viewpoints creativity workshop on Belfast Campus.

The workshop was delivered to members of staff from Hospitality and Tourism Management. The team wanted to generate some ideas around creativity in the curriculum, although they are not undergoing revalidation until 2012/2013. Creativity card prompts were used, as well as Assessment and Feedback and Information Skills cards. 22 members of staff attended

In the evaluation exercise afterwards, most staff indicated they found the session useful to help them reflect on creativity in curriculum design and the learner perspective, although many indicated they would prefer more time to explore the concepts.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Information Skills cards version 2 now complete

Viewpoints have now completed a new set of the Information Skills cards, with the help of key stakeholders in the University of Ulster, such as Ulster librarians.

The new versions of the cards have been extensively reworded to reflect current Information Skills practices in Ulster and in other higher education institutions.

They have also been 'branded' with the Information Skills logo, to distinguish them from other sets of workshop cards.

These cards have been printed but also can be viewed or downloaded as JPEGs on the Viewpoints Flickr photostream:

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Viewpoints Poster presentation at CAA Conference 2010

Fiona Doherty and Jill Harrison today presented a Viewpoints poster at the 2010 International Computer Assisted Assessment (CAA) Conference: Research into E-Assessment.

This two-day research-led conference was hosted by the University of Southampton and organised by its School of ECS and the IET at the Open University. The theme of the conference was e-assessment and there was a great deal of interest in the work that Viewpoints are doing, especially regarding the online tool and the Assessment and Feedback strand of the tool suite.

You can view the presented poster here:

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Module Worksheet

This is the Module Perspective worksheet that Viewpoints staff use when delivering a face-to-face workshop with Ulster staff.

(You can download a JPEG of the worksheet from our Flickr photostream)

It allows academics to think about their curriculum design at a module level, and plan their curriculum for that particular module.

Staff are encouraged to identify their objective for their group activity, write it on the module worksheet, and then they are shown the relevant cards for their strand (for example, Assessment and Feedback, Creativity in the Curriculum or Information Skills cards).

They then choose the principles that are relevant to their objective, and map their principles to the worksheet by placing them on the timeline.

Next, they turn the chosen cards over and select the relevant implementation ideas or examples. Finally, they can tailor the plan by adding their own notes and action points to the worksheet.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Assessment and Feedback/Creativity session - Economics

Catherine O'Donnell, Roisin Curran, Karen Virapen and Jill Harrison today delivered a workshop session looking at assessment and feedback strategies and creativity in the curriculum. This session was delivered to staff from the School of Economics.

The group wanted to focus around the first year experience, particularly looking at assessment and feedback strategies for this group. They have some retention and student engagement issues with first years, so are keen to revise their curricula. They also need an overall look at their course strategy in preparation for revalidation next year, and so Roisin Curran gave them a talk on how they could bring creativity to their courses.

Some groups were initially unconvinced as to the merits of using the workshop approach in revising their assessment and feedback strategy, but by the end of the process all the groups were able to come up with a suggested plan to move forward and revise their courses for students.

Slides for this session are available here:

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Elluminate online seminar

Viewpoints today hosted an online seminar (using Elluminate software). The aim of this session was to tell interested parties more about the work of Viewpoints.

This Elluminate session gave a brief overview of the Viewpoints project, our key objectives, and the tools that we aim to produce. It described our tool framework and planned project outputs and touched on the possible benefits of our approach to curriculum design.

Participants were able to view some sample workshop materials and a walkthrough of our planned online tool functionality.

Two interactive activities during the session allowed participants to try out the workshop approach for themselves.

Viewpoints also shared user experiences to date by demonstrating a range of 'user stories' in video, audio, photo and quote form.

The session covered the work done to embed Viewpoints tools within our institution, and ended with a discussion of future directions and a structured question and answer session.

To watch the recording of the Elluminate session, click on the link below (warning: this will launch a Java-based application for Elluminate)

Viewpoints archived recording, Elluminate online seminar

You can also watch the user videos that were shown as part of this session:

Friday, 28 May 2010

Assessment and Feedback workshop - School of Law

Catherine O'Donnell and Karen Virapen today delivered an Assessment and Feedback workshop for a group of academics from the School of Law.

The School of Law are currently undergoing a First Year Review, and in relation to this, the group wanted to look at realigning the first year curricula to give students a more relevant challenge, and help teach students how to develop independent study skills. It seems that first year Law students sometimes struggle with transition, some core law modules, and with the assessment workload.

With this in mind, three teams from the School looked at three different modules with a view to revising them. They looked at redesigning their assessment and feedback strategy at module level. The workshop generated a lot of lively debate, and hopefully this will help kick-start the process of redesigning assessment and feedback strategies for first year students.

Photos of the group outputs and progress are available here:

Slides for this session are also available online through SlideShare:

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Business Subject Planning Away Day - Assessment and Feedback/Creativity sessions

Today Dr Alan Masson and Catherine O'Donnell delivered two one hour workshops, one on Assessment and Feedback and another on Creativity in the Curriculum. These workshops were for academics from the Ulster Business School, who were taking part in a (Revalidation) Business Subject Planning Away event.

Slides from the workshops are available here:
The workshops provided some focus, assisted group discussion, helped staff consider challenges and helped them plan what they need to do while preparing for revalidation.

Photos of the group outputs and progress are available here:

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

JISC Curriculum Design Programme Meeting

Brass Tacks: Key Challenges in Delivering a Flexible Curriculum, Maple House, Birmingham

Sharon Copeland (Project Manager) gave an update on Viewpoints at the Programme Meeting, bringing everyone up-to-date with the advances the team have achieved.

She told the group about how the team were embedding the tools into the validation process and the work done with the Centre for Higher Educational Practice for the Creativity and Innovation strand of the project.

Sarah Knight (JISC Programme Manager) praised the team for their work to date. Some of the participating projects (such as the University of Bolton) expressed their interest in seeing the digital tools when they are ready for release, as they see a close link with their own curriculum developments.

The meeting was a good opportunity to catch up with the work of the other groups in the Curriculum Design programme and recognise the links across different groups.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Third CAMEL meeting

The third CAMEL meeting for JISC Curriculum Design Cluster C took place over two days, on the 27th and 28th April. This time University of Ulster hosted the meeting, which took place at Belfast Campus. Peter Bullen, the Cluster's critical friend, was the chair for the event.

Day 1 began with a short presentation on Viewpoints tools, followed by an interactive session. All the attendees got a chance to try out a module-level workshop, usingthe Assessment and Feedback and Information Skills best practice cards and large A0 laminate worksheets.

See the Viewpoints presentation here:

The whole cluster group was split into two teams, both considering module design. One team looked at their Assessment and Feedback strategy and one considered their Information Skills strategy for a course module.

Both teams had a number of tasks to complete: they chose their objective for consideration, selected relevant best practice cards, mapped these principles to the timeline, chose implementation ideas from the reverse of the cards, tailored the solution to their own ‘practice’, and came up with action points.

This was a lively and well debated session – the Assessment and Feedback group came up with an interesting ‘cyclical’ approach, using similar cards at different points in the timeline, but emphasizing student progression towards more autonomy – while the Information Skills group went for more of a matrix, and their action points were very specific and practically focused.

From the discussions, it emerged that Rebecca Galley is going to be talking to librarians in the Open University about information literacy, so that may be an interesting link for the Viewpoints team.

Peter Bullen emphasized that this particular CAMEL meeting was focusing on the impact each project could have on their prospective institutions, and subsequent discussions over the next two days revolved around that theme. As part of our first session on ‘impact’, we thought about an impact that, as a project, we could confident we could deliver, and one impact that we aspired to achieve. We then shared these with the rest of the cluster.

On the second day, Rachel Harris from Inspire Research joined us (via Elluminate) to help discuss impact on our respective institutions, based around the HEA’s Evaluation and Impact Assessment Approach.

In our teams, we discussed the first four questions from this document – intended outcomes, main beneficiaries, how to know these outcomes had been achieved, and how teams could discover whether outcomes had been achieved. Rachel (and the cluster) then commented on these initial discussions.

We discussed the difficulties of evaluating impact over the short life cycle of the JISC Design projects, and discussed how staff might use our workshops, and what the desired outcomes might be. We also discussed sharing these outputs with JISC CETIS.

Finally, we were reminded of key dates for the calendar: the upcoming JISC Design Programme meeting on Wednesday 12th May, the LAMS Design Bash on Friday 16th July, and two further CAMEL meetings for our cluster in November 2010 and April 2011.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Assessment and feedback session with PhD students

Fiona Doherty and Catherine O’Donnell delivered a Viewpoints assessment and feedback workshop with PhD students today, as part of their ‘Assessment for Learning’ session with lecturer Dr Patricia Kearney.

The students used the assessment and feedback cards and the module worksheets during the 45 minutes group work activity-based session.

They planned an assessment and feedback strategy for teaching a Masters dissertation module focusing on chosen theme(s). One student from each group presented their final output to the rest of the group at the end of the session.

Photos of the group outputs are available here:

Slides from this session are available here:

Friday, 5 March 2010

Librarian Subject Meeting - Information Skills Presentation

The Viewpoints team gave a presentation today in Jordanstown to all the University of Ulster Subject Librarians.

The purpose of this meeting was to update librarians on the development of the Information Skills strand of the toolset, and to get feedback on the workshop tools developed so far.


We showed librarians the information skills prompt cards we have developed (based on SCONUL Seven Pillars of Information Literacy) and the worksheet laminates which we plan to use in Information Skills workshops with course teams.

Catherine O’Donnell led an interactive group activity, where groups were each given one of the cards, asked to critically consider the content and ideas on them, and then think about using the cards for each part of the student timeline.


Each small group then fed back their ideas to the meeting.


The subject librarians were a great audience for testing Information Skills development, as they have such an expert knowledge about the subject and good connections with module co-ordinators and course teams.

There was a lot of lively feedback about the cards and their content on the day and we hope to continue piloting Information Skills content with Ulster librarians in future as it develops.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Viewpoints project diagram

The diagram below shows an overview of the Viewpoints project.

This illustration shows how the Viewpoints reflective tools attempt to bring best practice research into curriculum processes at Ulster.

The tools provide the structure for users to engage with best practice research (via the cards) and a learner timeline and relate this to their teaching practice.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Revalidation workshop

Viewpoints resources were available for use at a revalidation workshop today. Roisin Curran, from Staff Development, delivered the workshop to course teams from the School of the Built Environment.

The resources were available during the course team discussion activity, were each team were asked to consider the ethos of their programme and to consider key topics, such as assessment and feedback, curriculum planning and creativity and innovation.

The Viewpoints resources available included course-level timeline worksheets, course-level best practice cards (assessment and feedback, information skills and creativity in teaching and learning), post-its and markers. Each group were shown the resources and given suggestions of how they could be used - then given the option to use them if they wanted.

Two of the three teams made use of the resources in different ways to aid their programme-planning requirement, as shown in the photos below.

This initial introductory use of the course-level resources showed the value of them to help with curriculum planning activities, such as the Ulster programme revalidation process. Further consideration needs to be given to the timing of the use of the resources in the revalidation process.

The session showed the demand for more scalable resources that practitioners can take away and use - such as a paper-based version of the worksheet timeline (in a flipchart paper format) and printable versions of the best practice cards (perhaps also available on post-its).

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Meeting with CCEA

Fiona Doherty met with Dorit Reppert and Emma McAllister from the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) today.

The CCEA requested the meeting to find out more about the Viewpoints project and to gauge if the Viewpoints resources could be adapted for their educational purposes.

Fiona provided an overview of the Viewpoints project and demonstrated the Viewpoints assessment and feedback workshop format, giving them the opportunity to use the best practice cards and the timeline worksheet.

Some photos of the output from the demonstration are available here:

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Viewpoints at the Ulster eLearning Conference 2010

Dr Alan Masson, Catherine O’Donnell and Fiona Doherty delivered workshops at the University of Ulster’s 8th annual e-learning conference at the Belfast campus today.

The workshop was titled ‘Reflecting Viewpoints: Encouraging creativity in curriculum design (assessment and feedback)’. The session consisted of an activity-based demonstration of the Viewpoints Assessment and Feedback workshop format and showed how this had been recently integrated into the CIES Reward and Recognition programme. The tasks used real-life scenarios from the Reward and Recognition programme projects. Each group compared their output to the programme outputs and shared these comparisons with all participants.

The slides from the workshop are available here:

Photos from the workshop are available here:

Karen Virapen looked after the Viewpoints stand at the conference - promoting the project activities. The Viewpoints poster was on display with project resources available to take away.