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|PALET - The Programme Approval Lean Electronic Toolkit Project|
It's exactly one year since I started work here at Cardiff University, as a Project Officer for the PALET Project, which will pilot a more agile and flexible process for the development and approval of new programmes of study at Cardiff University. As the project title might suggest (Programme Approval Lean Electronic Toolset), from the outset, PALET has utlised Lean Thinking methodology for process improvements.
Christine Stewart (Director of LEAN) and her team have been heavily involved in PALET to date, and we've really benefited from the experience and LEAN expertise. I have recently attended the LEAN Skills for Managers Training, which aims to equip managers with the ability to apply lean thinking in their part of the organisation. Over a period of 16 weeks, we have learnt various skills, tools and techniques that have helped us all undertake a small LEAN project of our own. The training has included sessions on the following; Current state mapping, data collection, future state mapping and implementation. The last training session is scheduled for Thursday, during which we'll be focussing on the evaluation and review of process improvements.
I have found the course invaluable and I'm sure that the knowledge of Lean principles, tools and techniques will continue to be of use for the remaining two years of the PALET Project, and beyond. On reflection, perhaps earlier exposure to more of the detail behind the principles of Lean and the different tools available might have been useful. I wonder if perhaps a session on Lean could be included as part of the induction package to the University... just a thought!
Right, on with trying to do the right things righter...
Although it may sound like it, 'Wordle' is not a magical town in Middle Earth, neighbouring Mordor - it's a clever little tool that we have stumbled across and have decided to start using as part of our project communications. The Word Cloud below was particaruly easy to create. It was a matter of copying and pasting the aims and objectives of the PALET project into Wordle, which generated the below Word Cloud - giving greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. We think it quite a smart way to communicate what the project is about, in a single snapshot. For a clearer version, please click here.
Firstly, many thanks to all the staff across the University who have engaged positively with the project, particularly those who have attended the workshops and one-to-one interviews with Georgia to help review the University's Programme Approval Procedure. I hope you'll find it to be time well spent.
The results of this exercise are now in, and are being filtered into reports for both the JISC and the University's Academic Standards and Quality Committee (ASQC). The outcomes emerging from this review are not that surprising - the three issues that emerged most strongly being around the business case developed to support a new programme, a wish to be able to re-use approval documents for different audiences, and a frustration with the length of time it takes to approve a new programme.
The exercise has also been really valuable in helping staff feel that their thoughts and input are properly valued. The participatory design approach is one that we intend to maintain, and I hope that staff will simlarily be able to join us, especially when it comes to the redesign of the process. But first, the initial report, a draft of which will be circulated for comment in the next couple of weeks, needs to be considered by ASQC. This will aim to both set out the outcomes from the consultation, and the questions and issues identified that now need to be addressed.
My feeling is that we are now entering a crucial stage for the project, and that the way the Committee responds to this report will have a significant influence on the direction of the project. More to follow, so watch this space ...
Reflections from the cluster meeting June 2009.
Cambridge proved to be an excellent location for the five projects working together as a cluster within the JISC Curriculum Design Programme, a two day meeting that operated in the spirit of a CAMEL (see http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/camel/camel-model/the-idea.htm for an explanation). The meeting helped the projects to share experiences, ideas and issues, and learn that punting on the river Cam is both hard work, and in the case of the Cardiff delegation, a lot more difficult than it looks.
The meeting started with project updates (held 'calzon quitao'), which included discussion of the workshops being held currently by the PALET project, in which the processes used by schools to develop new programmes are mapped, and issues with the current programme approval procedure identified. This was followed by punting on the river, during which we identified opportunities for sharing and collaboration, an activity made even more hazardous by the need to transfer between boats mid-exercise.
The second day focussed on change management, through a workshop facilitated by Clive Alderson from JISC InfoNet, which proved to be interesting, entertaining and thought provoking. More than anything else, this helped remind me of the need to consider the complex motivations that individuals have, which they bring to bear in deciding whether or not to engage with projects and initiatives, particularly when they emanate from the central University. Lessons to be learned in an area, which IMHO, the sector does not do well.
|I'm well aware that our chosen acronym is not a real word (in either English or Welsh), and I've always pronounced it as 'pallet', which brought to mind the wooden crates (which I spent two miserable summer's stacking boxes of wine onto). Georgia, however, has adopted the artist's palette as the logo for the project. Much more refined.|
I've now learned that this 'art' analogy is to be extended, as Georgia, Simon and I are to be caricatured by Picasso Griffiths, as part of Cardiff's Positive Health and Environment Week (PHEW), the resulting pictures providing us with images that will be used as avatars for the project. The outcomes will be posted here first.
As for the project itself, I think good progress is being made with the collection of baseline data and process review, and more staff across the University have become aware of the project. We are also all keeping fit, not least the consequence of having to carry documentation for a new programme that weighed in at over 4.3 kilos. (Is this another quantitative data source to record as baseline data?). We are also due to attend the Programme meeting in Birmingham tomorrow. It will be good to catch up and share experiences with others. I hope it proves useful, reflections will be posted here.
© Dr Sarah Williamson. Powered by Apache Roller 4.0.1-dev.
|« May 2013|
Tagsalt approval assessment blog camel cardiff change charter collaboration connections curriculum description design digidol enagement flexible handbooks hea information jisc lean mwe palet programme quality stakeholders students technology university webservice
- Bolton University - Co-Educate
- Cardiff University
- Cluster Group Tweets
- Course Tools website
- Joint Informations Systems Committee (JISC)
- Open University - OULDI project
- PC3 project at Leeds Met Uni
- PIP project at Strathclyde University
- Staffordshire University - Enable Project
- Design Cluster B Blogs - Netvibes