The Collaborate project was always envisaged as a collaborative affair, and that’s not just in terms of the three key groups we’ll be working with (academic staff, students and employers), but also with other key individuals from the Universities professional services divisions and Colleges. Whilst the bulk of the work for Collaborate will fall on the shoulders of the core project team members, we also have an extended project team around us, whose expertise will be crucial in ensuring that we meet our planned objectives and are able to carry out our work packages effectively.
Who are the Extended Project Team?
Our extended project team is a diverse mix of expertise that matches the three focuses of the project: pedagogy, technology and employability.
From our partner overseas at Curtin in Australia, we have Jon Yorke as project consultant. Then from Academic Standards and Policy here at Exeter we have Suzanne Byrch to advise on quality assurance and strategy issues. Representing employability we have both Paul Blackmore and Steve Gaskin, as Head of Employability and Employability and Professional Development Manager respectively.
From within on our ranks at Education Enhancement we have the Head of Education Enhancement, Sue Burkhill, together with the Head of E-Learning Matt Newcombe and the Head of Academic Development, Dilly Fung. From Matt’s team we also have Mike Highfield, Kellie Cox and Kate Tyler to advise on E-Learning issues, and from Dilly’s team Marge Clarke, Jane Rowe and Lisa Spowart to advise on pedagogical issues.
Last, but by no means least, we have Steven Hickman, Senior Teaching Fellow and Director of the MSc International Management MBA for the Business School, collaborating with us.
So all in all a comprehensive and thoroughly experienced selection of talent to draw on!
How will the Extended Project Team be involved?
We envisage that the extended project team will be involved throughout the life of the project, contributing their expertise during the various work packages that we have planned. There are eight work packages in total, each focusing on different stages of the project and cumulatively building on experience gained through other packages.
Work Package 1: Project Management (continuous)
The first work package is focused on ensuring that the project is properly managed, and whilst this work package will probably involve the least direct input from the extended project team, nonetheless advice and recommendations will always be warmly welcomed!
Work Package 2: Baseline Review (Jan 2012 – Jul 2012)
Our first main tranche of work is the baseline review of current practice, where we are already exploring how assessment practice, employability and technology use are currently intertwined at the University. We will be working closely with Employability and Education Enhancement colleagues in particular to discover what they are already aware of, as well as tapping into their own thoughts through interviews about the main issues that the Collaborate project raises.
Work Package 3: Clarifying challenges and specifying areas for change (Jan 2012 – Aug 2012)
Running in parallel with the baselining, we will be identifying modules which are good candidates for change, i.e. the adaptation of existing assessment practice to be more ‘authentic’ or employability focused, and using ICTs in order to achieve this. We will be calling on extended project team members for advice on employability issues, on change issues to do with standards and quality assurance, on known issues with assessment practice and on the possibilities offered by the introduction of ICTs. The support of Associate Deans from Colleges which also be crucial at this stage.
Work Package 4: Plan assessment practices and processes (Mar 2012 – Nov 2012)
Our fourth work package is all about actually planning new assessments from the identified modules in work package 3. Again we will be looking for assistance from the extended project team on quality assurance, assessment design, employability and ICT, and also looking to employers and students to ensure we are taking an authentic approach. As part of this work package we will be seeking advice on a workflow model that will live beyond the project and be shared to a wider audience, as well as other tools that should assist in the future design of assessments that match our requirements with regards to employability and technology.
Work Package 5: Implementation of new assessments and embedding into the curriculum (May 2012 – Sep 2014)
Our largest and most challenging work package, work package 5, is the core of the Collaborate project, where we be spending most of the time engaging directly with academic staff, students and employers. Here we will have a dual purpose, both seeing that new assessment practices are successfully implemented and that all involved are comfortable and happy with their use, and also working to ensure that whatever changes are made are embedded.
The extended project team will be crucial for both of these tasks, helping to ensure that any new assessments perform both pedagogically and technically as expected, and also eventually taking ownership over new assessment practices in order to ensure the continued success of any changes once the project has finished.
Work Package 6: Evaluate overall impact of interventions (Dec 2013 – Nov 2014)
We have planned several methods for evaluating the success of any interventions, not least of which will be the opinions of peers, including our extended project team members. We would also like to be able to call on members of the extended project team to review formal documents that we will be producing as part of this evaluation work package.
Work Package 7: Embed innovations and plan for sustainability (Aug 2012 – Nov 2014)
Although Collaborate is a long project, it will eventually come to an end, so we are planning in sustainability in order to ensure that any successful interventions continue, and that any successful and useful tools propagate and are taken up further. We will be hoping that extended project team members will play a key part in this process, eventually taking ownership of selected project outputs for the future.
Work Package 8: Communication of outcomes (Oct 2012 – Nov 2014)
We have planned a wide range of communications, from simple posts within this blog to presentations at national conferences. We would hope that individuals from the extended project team will join us as appropriate in our communications, whether it’s just by adding a simple comment here on the blog, to perhaps even joint participation at a national conference.
Looking Beyond the Extended Project Team
The extended project team are an important part of the Collaborate jigsaw, but there are of course other people and groups who we will also be collaborating with. Academic staff and students, and of course employers are crucial, and we also have our Steering Group, not to mention partners in Australia. Then there are the local organisations here in the UK such as the QAA and the NUS, both with important advice and expertise to share. But their specific involvement will have to wait for another blog post.