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|PALET - The Programme Approval Lean Electronic Toolkit Project|
And I guess the hard work starts now, following the approval of the new high-level model for new programme approval by the University's Academic Standards and Quality Committee on 13th January 2010. The paper received by the Committee set out the model below, reported on the next stages to be undertaken by the Project, and identified the issues that have arisen from the work conducted to date.
At first glance this doesn't appear to offer a significantly quicker or leaner process. Indeed, the inclusion of a stage focussed on the business case is an addition. Schools did however feel it is important that this stage is included, and for the business case to be considered separately from the academic content. Everyone we consulted with also agreed that there is a need for a more collaborative approach to be taken and for relevant support and guidance to be made available from appropriate directorates at different points in the process. This will enable the process to be managed more efficiently by and within schools. Other time savings will be made by reducing the volume of information required to support a new proposal and by ensuring the information collected can be re-used to support a programme's operation, by reducing the number of approval points to one, and by ensuring that information has to be entered once only.
So, what happens next - well - apart from further revision to the Project Plan, supporting implementation of new programme information templates, revising the Project's Evaluation Strategy, liaising with JISC and the other projects in our cluster, and looking at ways of disseminating outcomes from the Project - the main task for the Project will be to define all the precise steps in each part of the new process, and to engage and consult with stakeholders to find the best solution for everybody. This will enable a technical specification for the IT based toolset to be developed in detail (all we all know that the 'devil' is always in the detail).
Thoughts or comments welcome
Monday of last week, we held the all important workshop, at which participants worked towards designing the future state of the Programme Approval Process at Cardiff University. After a few ice-breakers, participants were asked to list the real-world constraints that could hinder a perfect process - for instance QAA/Professional body requirements, University culture and 28 different Schools. Constraints aside, participants were then asked to design a 'ship' to represent their aspirations of a new programme approval process for Cardiff University.
Each group explained the reasoning behind their ship design. Common themes throughout the four ships were: Manoeverable, simple, advanced navigation system, streamlined, futureproofed, supportive crew, Ship captain keeping an eye on the horizon....
Two participants kindly offered (were coerced...!) to talk us through their ships - please view the below video:
Next, participants took the key messages from the "Art Attack" boat session, and started to develop a high level map of what the Programme Approval Process might look like in the future - using brown paper and post-it notes in true LEAN style! So, by the end of the workshop, we had an 'aspirational' high level map of what a new process would look like in an ideal world. Three more workshops are planned for November, at which participants will start to thrash out some of the detail, adding flesh to the bones of the high level aspirational map. As you can see - busy times aboard the good ship PALET - roll on Christmas :)
Last week, Cardiff played host to the third CAMEL meeting of Design Cluster B*. The meeting took place in the impressive Committee Rooms of the Glamorgan Building - people seemed very impressed - and perhaps more impressed that a scene from Dr Who was filmed in the ladies loo...!
The meeting began with a summary update from all visiting projects. This was followed by a 'calzon quitao' session, during which we (Andy and I) highlighted key challenges and difficulties that had arisen during the life of the PALET project and accepted constructive criticism, advice and support from other cluster projects.
The first workshop session of the Camel meeting was run by Katya Hosking, the Inclusive Curriculum Officer at Cardiff University, and focussed building inclusivity into curriculum design. The interactive session was well received and seemed to provide food for thought for many project teams. Feedback on the session was captured via twitter and included;
"E&D session gave genuine food for thought."
"Great session from on inclusive curriculum design at Cardiff"
"Rethinking notion of "disability" and inclusion in light of #dcb09 session this pm will include this as one of our principles for predict"
Day one concluded with a picturesque, sunset boat trip around Cardiff Bay. (This sounds very peaceful and relaxing, but ended up involving a huge panic when Taffs Mead ferry port couldn't be found...!) We continued discussions over dinner at Mimosa and came up with some great ideas for joint dissemination (*Watch this space!*).
A 9am start on day two, and straight into another workshop session focussed on evaluation. Professor Peter Chatterton facilitated the session, at which we explored the different approaches projects were taking to evaluation. The meeting finished with further discussion of potential joint dissemination opportunities. And to round of a successful camel meeting, we found out that our proposal to run a symposium session at the SEDA Conference next year has been accepted.
Personally, as the host, I found it difficult to relax and enjoy the meeting at first - I was more concerned whether everyone else was enjoyed the sessions. Once I realised that everyone was engaging well with the inclusive curriculum workshop, I was able to enjoy the session myself. So, we're looking forward to the next Camel Cluster meeting in March, at which we'll experience sights and sounds of Greenwich...
* Cardiff University, Cambridge University, Birmingham City University, City University London, Greenwich University.
Sunset over Cardiff Bay
We've had a busy couple of weeks following ALT-C with the PALET Project Management Team and PALET Project Steering Group meeting within one week of each other. Both meetings were good and reinforced to me the genuine senior level support and enthusiasm for the project - particularly now we've completed the baseline review of the current process and are moving into the design of the future.
The next stage of the PALET Project is for a new Programme Approval Process to be designed. As we are using a 'participatory design' model, we want the users of the process to lead in its design. An aspirational state workshop is scheduled for the start of November, during which colleagues from SONMS, two other Schools (TBC) and University Directorates will address the issues raised by the baseline report and focus upon what a new process would look like in an ideal world, with no constraints - what the LEAN team call 'an aspirational state'.
Once completed, the aspirational state map will be used as the basis for a further series of consultative workshops with all other Schools during November, during which academic and administrative staff from all Schools will build upon this to design the 'future state' of the process. The PALET Project Team will consider the outcomes of the workshops and produce a visual representation of a possible 'Future State', that will be presented to ASQC for consideration in January 2010.
Programme Information Templates
A workshop was held last month, with representatives from a number of schools to work towards redesigning the templates used to gather programme information. Since then, we've reviewed the outcomes of this workshop and come up with a redesigned programme specification template and module description template. We have attempted to design the templates and associated guidance, to encourage people to write the information for a student audience. Whilst we're aware that further programme related information will need to be collected throughout the programme approval process (for the purposes of validation, populating other fields in SIMS etc.), the two templates have been structured to capture programme and module related information that would be of interest to the student. The new templates will be submitted to the Academic Standards and Quality Committee for approval at the end of October.
Andy and I are attending the JISC 'Designing for Delivery and Delivering the Design' Programme Meeting in Manchester next Tuesday/Wednesday (will Manchester have even more to answer for...??!). This is a cross programme meeting to provide an opportunity from the Design and Delivery programmes to network and identify synergies. I'm absolutely sure that they'll be more tweeting than talking - the twitter tag is #jisccdd for those of you who are interested to follow.
We're also preparing to host the next Cluster CAMEL meeting here at Cardiff, where we'll be focussing on themes such as Equality and Diversity and Project Evaluation. I'm looking forward to it... but finding it hard to visualise what a Welsh Camel might look like...
The Alt-C conference (8-10 September 2009 at Manchester University) proved to be an excellent opportunity both to reflect on where the PALET project is currently, and to develop ideas and explore new themes relevant to the project. In particular, it served as a timely reminder that the project needs to engage more fully with the ways in which new curricula are actually designed. The challenge remains to find ways through which the full range of internal stakeholders can properly engage with these issues, and ensure that the redesigned process fully captures the discussions and decisions that appear to now take place outside of the current approval process.
Overall the conference was both useful and informative; it included some great keynotes, and parallel sessions that inevitably ranged in quality, a number of which demonstrated the unfortunate consequences that arise from implementation of projects that have not fully engaged different stakeholder groups. The PALET project itself was involved in two presentations, one led by the JISC Advisory Services team, which introduced attendees to the web-based "Design Studio", as well as to the projects themselves. The other, "Herding Cats? Engaging stakeholders in complex institutional change projects", was delivered by the projects in our cluster, led by Prof. Stephen Brown, critical friend to the cluster. Judging by the feedback we received this proved to be a very successful session, participants being invited to discuss a series of "top tips" for stakeholder involvement that have been identified by the projects on their experiences to date. Short video clips from the session are below: Overall, it was really useful and valuable to catch up with colleagues working in the cluster, as well as with staff from other projects and from the JISC. In fact, it was in some ways more like a "programme meeting", albeit one that had the added benefit of a whole range of contributions from other participants at the conference. It also demonstrated how far the cluster has developed as an identifiable "community of practice". I really hope we can continue to positively support each other as we move forward, the next Camel meeting being in Cardiff next month. I just hope everyone remembers to bring their brollies. And BTW, it rained in Manchester as well "plus ca change,
Overall, it was really useful and valuable to catch up with colleagues working in the cluster, as well as with staff from other projects and from the JISC. In fact, it was in some ways more like a "programme meeting", albeit one that had the added benefit of a whole range of contributions from other participants at the conference. It also demonstrated how far the cluster has developed as an identifiable "community of practice". I really hope we can continue to positively support each other as we move forward, the next Camel meeting being in Cardiff next month. I just hope everyone remembers to bring their brollies. And BTW, it rained in Manchester as well "plus ca change,plus c'est la meme chose".
Is it me, or do four day weeks feel even longer?! Anyway, this week, we have spent some time looking at the information gathered at the ‘Programme Information Workshop’ that took place last Monday. The participants of the workshop were split into four groups to represent four key audiences of the programme specification and the module descriptions:
- Prospective Student
- Entrant/New Student
- Employer/Professional Bodies
Following this, the four groups reconvened and started to identify which bits of information about a programme, should be found within the programme specification and module descriptions. The information gathered at the workshop will be looked at further next week and eventually, and hopefully, very soon, new templates will be developed. These will then be circulated for comment, so watch your inboxes…
In project dissemination news… Andy and I are off to the ALT
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 ...
"Information is a source of learning. But unless it is organized, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision making, it is a burden, not a benefit" - William Pollard
Normally, I take two weeks annual leave - find myself worrying slightly about the amount of things will have happened/moved on in my absence - then returning to find out in fact, nothing has changed. However, after sunning myself in Sardinia for two weeks, I returned to find significant developments had taken place.
Since it began in September 2008, the PALET project has been looking at the range of documentation used within the formal Programme Approval Process - e.g. programme specifications, programme regulations, module descriptions etc. It has become apparent that often similar information can also be found in the prospectus, website, in Blackboard and on the Univeristy's Student Information Management System (SIMS). The School's then have the onourous task of keeping the different sources of information upto date and consistent - quite a job!
So, the Academic Standards and Quality Committee (ASQC) at Cardiff University, has just approved a proposal to streamline the documentation - ensuring that the different versions of similar information are upto date and consistent. It was agreed that the programme specification will be revised and expanded, different elements of which can be made available to applicants, new entrants and graduates. In addition to this, a standard template detailing the programme structure will be developed and the module description template will be updated.
The PALET project has already established good links with a number of staff in academic Schools and has a number of workshops and interviews already scheduled. So, it has been agreed that the above will be taken forward by the good ship PALET, so as not to place any additional or unecessary administrative work in Schools. We are already using a participatory design approach in the PALET project, encouraging the users of the programme approval process to get actively involved in the design of a new process. We will adopt the same approach to review and revise the programme information templates, to ensure that what is developed genuinely meets the user's requirements.
So, all aboard the good ship PALET, and full steam ahead!
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.
Right from the inception of this project, it has been our intention to try and involve the academic community at Cardiff in the development of a ‘lean’ Programme Approval Procedure as much as is practically possible. Failure to do so would likely lead to a lack of ‘buy-in’, and risk failure.
The question is … how to do so, given the myriad of different commitments that academic staff have, the devolved structure at the University, the varied needs of 28 different schools, and the natural reluctance we all have to get involved in something where it is not immediately clear “what’s in it for me”.
It is a common theme within our cluster, one we have sought to look at together by exploring innovative ways of involving ‘stakeholders’ and by investigating different models of ‘participatory design’. The problem is, as soon as you start talking about “facilitating stakeholder involvement in participatory design” is that half the audience will switch off, and the other half will look bemused! We desperately need an alternative an alternative term to “stakeholders”. Any suggestions please get in touch.
So how will this be undertaken? The need to gather feedback from and the views of all 28 schools has been acknowledged, as an addition to the specific involvement in the project of the School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies. We also plan to gather video clips to illustrate the different perceptions that staff have of the current procedure, and to work with staff undertaking the PCUTL programme, by thinking about different models of curriculum design and the need to develop sustainable programmes. There will be other ways to get involved. How this will be done … well that’s largely up to you – so why don’t you get in touch, you never know it might actually be a useful and interesting thing to do.
So it's April 2009 - six months after the PALET project began. The last few months have been primarily devoted to project PLANNING - developing a detailed project plan, a communications plan and an evaluation strategy. The final drafts of all of the project planning documentation will be submitted to the JISC on 30 April 2009. Members of the project team have also been busy attending various events and workshops. Andy Lloyd (Project Manager), Simon Bleasdale (Technical lead) and I attended a CAMEL Cluster Group meeting back in February this year. This was a 2 day session with colleagues from Cambridge University, Birmingham City University, City University and Greenwich University, that focussed on successful stakeholder engagement. Sheila McNeill from JISC-CETIS ran a session on the use of twitter as a tool to engage stakeholders. We are trialling the use of twitter by using it to communicate with other members of the CAMEL cluster group using #dcb09. Image: CAMEL Cluster Group Meeting February 2009 Andy, Sarah Carpenter (e-Learning Change Champion) attended the JISC Conference in Edinburgh. I attended an interesting session on Green ICT and the Learner Experience of e-Learning and found the conference provided good networking opportunities. Andy and I attended the E for Enhancement Conference that took place on 2 April at Cardiff University. We presented a poster on the PALET Project, which generated a good amount of interest and attendees were keen to see how the project progresses in future years. We're now looking forward to the coming months: process review, gathering futher baseline data, CAMEL cluster meeting in Cambridge, Programme meeting in Birmingham....
So it's April 2009 - six months after the PALET project began. The last few months have been primarily devoted to project PLANNING - developing a detailed project plan, a communications plan and an evaluation strategy. The final drafts of all of the project planning documentation will be submitted to the JISC on 30 April 2009.
Members of the project team have also been busy attending various events and workshops. Andy Lloyd (Project Manager), Simon Bleasdale (Technical lead) and I attended a CAMEL Cluster Group meeting back in February this year. This was a 2 day session with colleagues from Cambridge University, Birmingham City University, City University and Greenwich University, that focussed on successful stakeholder engagement. Sheila McNeill from JISC-CETIS ran a session on the use of twitter as a tool to engage stakeholders. We are trialling the use of twitter by using it to communicate with other members of the CAMEL cluster group using #dcb09.
Image: CAMEL Cluster Group Meeting February 2009
Andy, Sarah Carpenter (e-Learning Change Champion) attended the JISC Conference in Edinburgh. I attended an interesting session on Green ICT and the Learner Experience of e-Learning and found the conference provided good networking opportunities.
Andy and I attended the E for Enhancement Conference that took place on 2 April at Cardiff University. We presented a poster on the PALET Project, which generated a good amount of interest and attendees were keen to see how the project progresses in future years.
We're now looking forward to the coming months: process review, gathering futher baseline data, CAMEL cluster meeting in Cambridge, Programme meeting in Birmingham....
Welcome to the blog for the Programme Approval Lean Electronic Toolset (PALET) project. Please find below a short overview of the project:
PALET Project Overview
Utilising the Lean Thinking methodology for process improvements, the PALET project will develop revised procedures for the approval of new programmes to create a more agile, efficient and flexible approach to the design of new curricula and the subsequent programme approval process. In the context of the University’s Modern IT Working Environment (MWE) project, a service-oriented approach will be utilised to develop a toolset to support academic and support staff through each stage of the new programme approval process, which will also ensure that the resulting programme and module information is clearly defined and can be seamlessly utilised by other business applications.
The project will build on and extend a recent end-to-end review of the process conducted through the University’s Lean University Project and will redesign this procedure to ensure that new programmes are attractive, innovative, market relevant and of a high academic standard. This will include a focus on the business case developed for new programmes, on the information required within a programme proposal, and on the process of curriculum design.
The revisions will be guided by input from staff within academic schools, the main users of the process. The project will draw upon the tools being utilised across the University within version 2.0 of the MWE, specifically those that will support collaborative working and the development and management of online processes. The project will also link with the work being undertaken to improve the University’s data quality, to facilitate the most effective use of this data, and to improve the ability to find, access and publish corporate information.
The project has been identified as a high priority for the University, and it is linked with a number of key strategic matters and other ongoing University-wide projects. These include the ongoing implementation of the Student Information Management System (SIMS) across the institution, review of the University’s future approach to portfolio management, implementation of the University’s learning, teaching and assessment strategies, and a move towards a definitive single data source to cover the lifecycle of a programme from inception through to delivery. While the success of the PALET project is not dependent on the implementation of the related projects and initiatives, a holistic approach to policy and practice will help to transform institutional business processes over the short to medium term.
© Dr Sarah Williamson. Powered by Apache Roller 4.0.1-dev.
|« May 2013|
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