Savvy students will choose to attend universities and colleges that offer them an excellent student experience.
As learners become more discerning about their choice of course they will make use of services such as Unistats to compare courses and the learning experiences of previous students.
From the 24 September 2012 when Unistats launch their new website these statistics will also include Key Information Sets (KIS), a breakdown of student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.
Designing responsive curriculum and creating learning experiences that really engage students as well as building their skills for the workplace can help you attract learners. But how do you go about redesigning your curriculum; and how can technology help?
Listening to the experiences of Manchester Metropolitan University and Birmingham City University in the latest edition of Jisc on Air, it is obvious that student experience has been a key factor in their new curriculum developments, but that they have also found it equally important to consider how the processes and IT systems will also need to change.
When it comes to making sure your courses are responsive to the changing needs of learners is it best to work from grass roots or do you need a top down approach where senior management take the lead?
Each university has taken a different approach to tackling curriculum change projects but both their experiences highlight that whichever direction you take, it is going to mean a major organisational change.
Birmingham City University share their experience of engaging with key stakeholders and how they have empowered staff to take ownership of the process to improve courses, providing staff with guidance in the form of ‘a rough guide to curriculum design’. This was a grass roots approach, which has led to a gradual series of changes to the curriculum over time.
In contrast Manchester Metropolitan University have been through a period of rapid change to transform curriculum through assessment. Their programme has been driven from the top by their deputy vice-chancellor for student experience. Aiming to improve student satisfaction and strengthen their position, they implemented a new virtual learning environment and new learning spaces. The university saw how technology could enrich the curriculum because by adding online learning resources students could access them via a range of mobile devices ‘anytime, anywhere’. This suits learners who are often juggling paid employment with study, where time is precious.
What’s clear is that for both universities two factors were key to success: firstly, getting buy-in from those who would need to lead the change, either senior management or academic staff, and secondly, focusing on the student benefit to motivate staff.