Assignment planning

For those of you who are planning to complete the assignment, I’ll be posting the occasional update to the site.

The deadline for submission is Monday 27 April, 9pm.

There are two parts to the assignment. The first is a programme development plan. This can take pretty much any form you like, both in terms of content, and in terms of presentation. I do realise that choice can be paralysing, but the reason for this approach is so that you can choose something which is relevant and useful to you. You might want to produce a plan which you can share with colleagues, which might not contain all of the supporting evidence I need, so you might want to submit a plan plus an annotated bibliography to me. You might want to practice giving a presentation to colleagues, and produce a podcast for submission for the assignment which captures this. You might want to write an essay or a case study report. I really don’t mind, as long as the learning outcomes are addressed, and you submit something which I can mark against the criteria (see the unit handbook). If you aren’t sure about the format, get in touch, and we can discuss it.

In terms of selecting a topic, start by thinking about what interests you about the future direction or current practice on your programme. You might choose to analyse something which works really well on the programme, and consider what goes into making that aspect work well, and what lessons might be drawn from that analysis. Or you might choose something which you’d really like to develop further, or which you’ve been given the responsibility to develop further. You can analyse and evaluate what happens now, and propose an action plan for the next steps. These are the learning outcomes which are being tested in this part of the assignment:

  1. critically review the role of programme leaders in relation to the student lifecycle from outreach to alumni contacts
  2. produce an effective and evidence-based programme development plan

So if you are looking at employability, for instance, you might consider how the programme team present graduate prospects and graduate outcomes to students from open days to final year projects, and beyond graduation, and how you might further integrate discussion and skills development into the programme. What would you need colleagues to do, and how would you support them? There are plenty of relevant references in the topic sections, and in the reading list on Moodle.

You might look at the use of Moodle on your programme, and how to make it more consistent. You might want to review assessment policy and practice, or induction strategy, or first year support, or….anything which impacts on the programme in any way. If you aren’t sure if your idea is suitable, then just get in touch and we can discuss it further.

The second part of the assignment focuses more firmly on you and the skills you need to develop to become an effective academic leader. These are the learning outcomes which are being tested in this part of the assignment:

  1. critically evaluate their own approaches to leadership in Higher Education with relation to key theories and institutional policies
  2. situate their own professional development plan in the context of national, institutional and departmental priorities

You’ll need to consider what makes an effective academic leader, and carry out some self-assessment. What further professional development and support will you need? Can you identify a suitable mentor? Where would you like to be in two, five and ten years’ time? What is your plan for achieving this? Again, the format of this part of the assignment is up to you.

If you want to review any of the webinars, they are all archived on this page.


#LTHEchat No 14 with Dr Rachel Forsyth @rmforsyth about Progression

This session may be of interest to those of you focusing on progression, or wanting to have a go at Tweetchats.


Dear colleagues,

Dr Rachel Forsyth

Dr Rachel Forsyth, Deputy Head of the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at Manchester Metropolitan University will be with us for the next #LTHEchat to discuss Progression. In Rachel’s own words:

“So, this week I am determined to get home in time to participate properly in #lthechat. I often catch the end, and almost always scroll through the hashtag or storify afterwards, but I feel an extra sense of responsibility this week.

What is the role of learning and teaching in supporting progression? Is it just about making sure that everyone passes the year? What can we learn from the extensive literature on student retention and student success which we can apply to our own teaching and assessment? Is it someone else’s problem: student services, librarians, counsellors, personal tutors or halls of residence staff? Or is it something we can address…

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Topic 6 update

We are drawing close to the end of the more formal part of this module. In topic 5, I asked you to consider how you would know whether their initiative had been effective. Doing this exercise is a really good way to work out whether the objectives for the initiative are well-worded, and sometimes (most times?) you will need to return to the objectives and edit them a little to make sure that you do have good ways to determine whether the plan has worked or not.

We discussed this at more length in the webinar, which is now available.

Topic 6 is now available too. In a way, topic 6 is where your improvement plan will actually start, because it looks at ways in which you can enhance a programme. You will need to contextualise this using data you’ve collected in topic 5, and the work you’ve previously done to set out what it is you want to develop in more depth.

Week 7

browniesFor Manchester-based participants, next week’s webinar is replaced with a meeting at 1pm. Look out for an email with the venue details, and if you don’t get one, let me know. If you want to bring your sandwiches, that’s fine, and I promise some cake.

We’ll discuss your plans, so bring along all the ideas you’ve put together so far.

Topic 5 update

Topic 5 is up and running and the Topic 5 webinar recording is now available. This week is still about your own development plan or project. Spend some time thinking about how you would know that your project has been successful. You will need to consider whether your initial objectives are clear.

If you haven’t managed to get to your allocated readings (password needed – let me know if you didn’t get it), or any of the previous tasks, don’t worry – you can catch up at any time and I don’t mind when you send me things to look at.


Topic 4 Update

Topic 4 is now available. This week I would like to you to focus on your own area of interest, and consider what makes a good strategy at programme level. What kinds of issues would you need to consider when planning a change in a programme, or in enhancing an existing aspect of the programme? Each person has been allocated a  reading. The page is password protected, as it contains your name and interests: if you didn’t get the password in the webinar, let me know. If you don’t like yours, feel free to use something else, or ask me for a different topic! If you aren’t on the list, and would like to be, just let me know what you’re interested in.

The webinar recording is available. For those who didn’t attend, you’ll need to keep your finger over the fast forward button, because we used breakout rooms, which means that the recording has a long gap in it.

The notes from the breakout rooms are also available. They are password protected using the same password as for the allocated readings.