Author Topic: University Challenged  (Read 46121 times)

Re: University Challenged
« Reply #750 on: April 18, 2021, 11:33:14 AM »
Not sure how related to Covid it is, but we've had direction from above to completely redesign all our courses towards a more blended online/on-campus delivery. The numbers and timeline that they've put in place are ludicrously tight and there's a proper sense of 'you lot should just deal with it' about communications.

So, in the last four years

*rewrite course and all modules from 10/20 credits per module to 15/30
*adjust that to get both courses accredited
*rewrite entire course for covid-affected online delivery
*rewrite all modules - again - for blended delivery

greencalx

  • Never knowingly knowledgeable
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #751 on: April 18, 2021, 01:56:41 PM »
Is that for next year?

I have a feeling some managers think that hybrid is a long-term model that will allow them to take in fees without having to shell out for expensive lecture theatres and the like. I’m not aware of our management making similar noises (though big classes look unlikely to return to in-person any time soon). There seems to be a consensus, even among the upper echelons, that hybrid is not as good except, possibly, for those students who actively want it.

The conversations I’ve been in have been more along the lines of “here’s some good things that we didn’t expect / have the gumption to do before that we’d like to keep doing if we can”. Completely online submission of work and marking is one those - might seem odd to those used to essay-based courses, but in subjects like maths and physics this is nontrivial but we’ve worked out how to do it now. This year I had way more students handing in work than last. This may have been because they had nothing else to do, but I also wonder whether not having to drag your arse into the department to hand it in had something to do with it. Will be interesting to see if it holds up next year.

Re: University Challenged
« Reply #752 on: April 18, 2021, 04:14:49 PM »
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Is that for next year?

In theory, yes. In practice, there's no chance. We're in the middle of rolling out the structure change, so our 3rd year modules will only be running for 1 more year in their current form. I am not having staff change them for only 1 year.

I also just don't know how we're going to do it yet. We have lab hours mandated by the accrediting body. Those can't be touched. Every module needs to change, really, so we introduce a totally different culture of how we teach. To staff and students.

Difficult.

So yeah, I don't see the benefit, I don't see how we make it happen and I don't see how we make it work starting in September. Happy times.

Quote
I have a feeling some managers think that hybrid is a long-term model that will allow them to take in fees without having to shell out for expensive lecture theatres and the like. I’m not aware of our management making similar noises (though big classes look unlikely to return to in-person any time soon). There seems to be a consensus, even among the upper echelons, that hybrid is not as good except, possibly, for those students who actively want it.

This was on the radar for some time - backed with large investment in the IT facilities etc.

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The conversations I’ve been in have been more along the lines of “here’s some good things that we didn’t expect / have the gumption to do before that we’d like to keep doing if we can”. Completely online submission of work and marking is one those - might seem odd to those used to essay-based courses, but in subjects like maths and physics this is nontrivial but we’ve worked out how to do it now. This year I had way more students handing in work than last. This may have been because they had nothing else to do, but I also wonder whether not having to drag your arse into the department to hand it in had something to do with it. Will be interesting to see if it holds up next year.

Similar here. One big one was 'prelabs' - short bits of work, together with the necessary COSHH forms, that try to get the students to engage with practicals before attending. These moving online save us 30 minutes + at the start of the session as the students queue up to get in. One or two brighter staff have semi-automated the marking. Streamlined.

Second aspect is better use of tools within the lectures - learner response, videos, animations. Everyone has had a crack at including something. We've all bought drawpads so can write direct on powerpoints as we deliver, which is very useful. We plan to have videos of all our practicals ready for next year, so students can go back after the session to see any missed steps/harder aspects.

Certain meetings have been massively streamlined online - exam moderation for example, where we all peer-review the other papers within the department.

greencalx

  • Never knowingly knowledgeable
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #753 on: April 18, 2021, 05:51:28 PM »
Ah right! There were rumblings our way when this all started of taking the opportunity to move to a radically new / modern / (whispers) cheaper delivery medium, but I think the students have been firm enough about how much they prefer it the old-fashioned way that it seems that common sense has prevailed. Although, there is a curriculum revamp upcoming, so the road ahead remains rocky.

And kind of annoying to have such things thrust upon you when, as you've also described, it's not like we're being stick-in-the-muds. Digitising the more "admin-ny" part of the lab so you can make more use of the bench time seems very sensible, and the kind of thing that those of us who actually have to do this stuff can get our teeth stuck into and some degree of satisfaction from. Repackaging the existing curriculum to fit into new boxes created by people who don't encounter students very often, not so much.

Meetings are a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the electronic forum can improve their operation somewhat - the main thing is that the text chat makes it easier to contribute a small observation without disturbing the flow of the main meeting, and people giving the 'thumbs up' to suggestions means that more good ideas with support get exposed than in the conventional format. On the other hand, it's become too easy for people to schedule meetings - particularly those whose entire job function seems to be attending meetings.

Re: University Challenged
« Reply #754 on: April 18, 2021, 05:59:37 PM »
oddly, and perhaps more so given I've a solid departmental role, I have not had the Great Meeting Wave that colleagues have experienced and that you just described.

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