There are three principal forms of consultancy support available:

  • Learning Design Workshops – available at your institution
    • (1) University Module and Programme Design and Curriculum Development
    • (2) Capacity Development for Online Learning & Teaching
  • (3) Remote Programme or Course Reviews and Guidance

Learning Design Workshops

Simon in Workshop

Simon is happy to be invited in to work with colleagues, in association with educational and staff development units, PVC/Deans of Learning & Teaching or Learning Media Groups. All costs are negotiable depending on group size and contextual complexity. See prices and availability here.

All interventions are responses to an institutional brief, and all are negotiated to meet pre-defined strategic needs. Below is the ‘standard’ offering but everything can be customised to meet the institutional need.

Completely customisable to suit institutional needs

University Module and Programme Design and Curriculum Development

Who is it for? Designed to support an entire programme team, multiple module leaders, learning and teaching support staff are welcome. The full five-day workshop aims to provide a new programme with all of the paperwork necessary for programme validation within your institution, shorter versions get you as far as you need to be.

  • Day 1 – Institutional Context and Design Principles:  engaged in an extensive exploration of the alignment of the entire programme (to graduate outcomes, National and Discipline Benchmarks and other external reference points). Discussion about the sequencing of modules across stages and levels, credit worthiness and overarching assessment strategy within the discipline.
  • Day 2 – Learning Context: the focus will be on identifying students and faculty. Identifying the skills sets they bring to the programme, any identifiable deficits. This will serve to identify learning modes and blend, for example the degree of work-based learning, independent study and on-line learning that can be supported by the programme.  Design teams will identify the media and educational technology context in which programmes will run.
  • Day 3 – Learning Structure: in smaller module groups, as appropriate, we then follow a detailed learning design process to generate all of the paperwork necessary for validation within your institution. Starting with clarity as to the progression pathways through modules and levels through the programme. Any articulations with parallel provision and options will be explored here. We will explore the authorship of intended learning outcomes (ILO) across five domains of learning, metacognitive, cognitive, affective, psychomotor and interpersonal, in order to correctly balance the ILOs across the programme.
  • Day 4 – Assessment:  in the light of institutional limitations for how to deploy assessment across the programme, timing and supporting progressive skills development at each stage. We will ensure that each module and programme is constructively aligned throughout.
  • Day 5 – Learning Activities: begins with an exploration of the practical learning and teaching opportunities that the emergent programme represents, testing ideas back to the profiles developed on Day 1.
  • Workshop ends with presenting our outputs back to the entire group and a peer evaluation process.
Possible Inclusions
  • An introduction and demonstration of the Student-Owned Learning-Engagement (SOLE) model and its associated Excel toolkit. The intention is that participants will go away with a clear set of design principles to address the challenges that their module might present.
  • Detailed exploration of the circular representations of the five domain of learning. Allowing design teams to customise the language to suit their context as the basis for on-going design.

Capacity Development for Online Learning & Teaching

Who is it for? Designed to support both individual faculty and course teams. The full five-day workshop aims to provide faculty who are new to teaching and learning online with the skills and abilities to adapt successfully to this mode. Shorter versions are negotiable where some previous experience exists. 

  • Day 1 – Institutional Context and On-line Design Principles underpin all the capacity work. We need to understand the nature of our students, our cohorts, our faculty skill-sets and the digital environment that will be provided to students.
  • Day 2 – Understanding ‘Digital’ Students attitudes to communication both in their own social and private spaces and in their world of learning. We also need to understand the distinction between remote-online and online-supported learners.
  • Day 3 – Structure of Learning for Online Courses require some variations regarding the scaffolding and support mechanisms provided. Whichever digital platform you intend using (Moodle, Sakai, Blackboard, etc) there are constraints and opportunities that need to be explored.
  • Day 4 – Designing Online Learning Activities is closely related to the intended learning outcomes for your course. We will examine the way in which the active verbs used in designing outcomes can feed directly into the design for meaningful online activities.
  • Day 5 – Designing Online Assessment will depend largely on your regulatory context and the technological capabilities of your students and your institution. We will explore how best to assess the outcomes of your courses in a digital form regardless of the discipline.

Remote Programme or Course Reviews and Guidance

Who is it for? Not every institution has a network of external reviewers and not all external reviewers are necessarily experienced in the intricacies of constructive alignment. In these cases, you may benefit from an ‘external viewpoint’. This consultancy support ordinarily does not require a site visit, which dramatically reduces costs. Prices will vary according to where in the world the programme is delivered. See Review and Guidance Prices here

  • A: Preliminary Review and Guidance – ordinarily this would involve reviewing a complete set of documentation before internal validation at your institution. You will be required to send all supporting documents (Institutional Handbooks, General Academic Regulations, Teaching and Assessment Policies, Quality Assurance Guidelines), either as PDF (no hard copy) or accessible web links. I will then align the programme against international best practice using the 8-stage learning design model and provide detailed guidance.
  • B: Two-Step Review and Guidance – in addition to the above support A:, I will also organise a single web-conference (via Skype, Zoom or equivalent) to discuss issues that have arisen from the process. I will then re-visit the validation documentation again before an external review (or after approval if your national regulations allow for a single step process) and provide further guidance to process documentation and designs to the next stage.
  • C: Full Review and Guidance – as well as the support offered under B:, I will be available for up to four virtual consultancies at any point in the programme or module design process. These one-hour web-conferences (via Skype, Zoom or equivalent) can discuss any aspects of the design process that have been notified to me at least 48 hours in advance.

Simon Atkinson has been offering educational consultancy services, advice and guidance in the area of e-learning, learning design and academic educational development since 2000. Simon has focussed on his experience in tertiary education to offer workshops, seminars and interventions primarily intended to support institutions own capacity building efforts for flexible, distance and on-line delivery. All sessions are tailored to meet the unique context of institutional, regional or national strategies for learning design and academic educational development. Simon’s focus is on tailored workshops and professional development programmes for learning & teaching staff, across all disciplines, preparing to develop and support learning in increasingly mixed, or blended, modes of delivery.

Simon’s University level work includes working internationally with colleagues such as the Institute or Women, Gender and Development Studies – Egerton University, Kenya entitled ‘Capacity Building for Distance Learning and e-Learning Development’ (funded by British Council), and as part of formal projects as in the case of a keynote address as part of the Croatian National e-Learning Project EQIBELT (TEMPUS). He also supported the development for proposals for online development for part-time Fire-fighters for NZ Fire Service.

In direct support of his own scholarship agenda, he ran a series of workshops over 2006-2009 (with Kevin Burden) on the effective use of digital artefacts, principally video, in tertiary education as part of a JISC funded project entitled the DiAL-e. Simon has also more recently developed a framework for evaluating students orientation to learning in UK Universities entitled the POISE, a means of establishing the epistemological foundations of new entrants.

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