Introducing: The UCEM Design Jam

Last week we hosted our first UCEM Design Jam.  The Jam marks the beginning of each module development phase under the Transform programme and provides a hands-on, engaging and supported space for module teams to come together and design the structure of their nine-week modules.

The Design Jam’s  activities have been adapted from a model developed at UCL Digital Education called ABC Curriculum Design. ABC has been used successfully in educational institutions across Europe as a quick way to (re)design programmes and modules, supporting academic teams to discuss and create storyboards of students’ activities. Our revised approach supports our educational framework for fully online education and address vocational and competency-based learning. Key differences to ABC include giving more time to storyboard each module, and a revised set of activity types to reflect the fully online and competency-based nature of our provision.

During the workshop academic staff worked as a team with dedicated learning designers and media specialists to create a visual ‘storyboard’ for modules in the forthcoming development stage.  Module leaders had undertaken preparation activities prior to the event to plan their assessments, and identify specific areas that students’ find difficult  along with any threshold concepts. With this information to hand we hit the ground running, creating storyboards that outlined the type and sequence of learning activities required to meet the module’s learning outcomes and provide extra support for students where needed.  We saw a number of new activities appearing in the storyboards including collaborative annotation, peer review workshops, digital diaries,  revision boards, branching scenarios, and online role play.

To break up the event, participants were also provided with the opportunity to plan media content such as video and interactive presentations, and participate in ‘assessment healthchecks’. We also explored some of the new tools that we have embedded in the VLE including, Padlet, and H5P branching along with their possible applications. We are now working on moving the designs into reality, building the modules and the VLE, and identifying and creating learning resources.