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The Curriculum Design Student Panel turns 5 years old

The panel management team have been busy saying thank you to staff and students for their involvement over the years.The panel was set up in 2016 by just a handful of staff and 500 students. Today, they are a whole lot bigger with over 3,000 panel members.

As part of the celebrations, they would love to get a quote from you regarding the panel. Please go to the Learning Design Twitter account to post your thoughts and experiences as a panel member.

Here is a blog post celebrating and reflecting on five years of the Curriculum Design Student Panel.

You will find the details of the above on the We-Learn 5th Birthday Celebrations! page.

With lots of activities happening over the past few months, here's an update on what’s been happening and what is still to come.... (If you haven’t had the chance to join in yet, don’t worry there’s still time).

Activities currently running

Skills Audit Tools Project

The Learning Design and Interactive Media teams are conducting a survey on the provision of audit tools. A number of Open University modules provide these for students to identify and reflect on their skills. These can be in the form of questions or statements that learners respond to, and some create visual outcomes. As the designs of these tools are varied, the aim of this project is to evaluate which audit tool designs are the most effective.

Harmonic Oscillator activity

A selection of panel members are invited to take part in this activity, the purpose of this consultation is to understand how best to use interactives to teach quantum mechanics at a distance. The interactive chosen is based on material that SM380 students will meet in the 6th chapter of the module, which covers the quantum mechanical treatment of the simple harmonic oscillator.

Upcoming activities

Adobe Connect survey

The purpose of the activity is to get a student voice on the use of Adobe Connect rooms in light of recent issues. The activity is to focus on recent experiences of using Adobe Connect (post April 2021).

Activities that have taken place since April

Learning Behaviours survey

The whole panel was invited to take part in this activity. The purpose was to understand more about your study habits and learning strategies. The more we understand about the approach you take to learning, the more we can work to create new, and improve existing, learning experiences in a way that is relevant and applicable to you. Thank you for taking part.

Module Maps study

The Open University has been using Module Maps in several modules for some time, and we were keen to hear your thoughts on what a Module Map should include, and your views about a few examples of current maps. Randomly selected students across all faculties and studying at all levels were invited to take part in two tasks, one to sketch their own Module Map, and the second, to tell us what they thought of existing Module Maps. Thank you to all who participated, the project team are collating your responses, feedback will be available at a later stage.

Student Experiences of Jupyter (Notebook) Elements

The module production team wanted to understand what could and should be consistent across modules employing Jupyter Notebook elements for teaching. Responses will help the team to create a set of recommendations for module teams to consider during design. We would like to thank all who responded to the survey, the team are currently collating your responses and feedback will be provided shortly.

EA300R Module Title consultation

The module team are in the process of remaking Children’s Literature (EA300), a module that is offered to students completing a degree in English Language, English Literature, English Language & Literature, Arts & Humanities, Childhood & Youth Studies and the Open Degree. They are exploring possibilities for a new title for the module that reflects its interdisciplinarity and wanted to get your views. Thank you to all who participated, your responses are being collated and feedback will be available soon.

BB853 ‘Avoid the dragon’ game

A selection of panel members were invited to look at a prototype of a game that’s being developed for BB853. The purpose was to inform the team of students’ experiences of the game and what further development will be needed. We understand there were a few issues as it was an early prototype. Thank you to all who engaged with this activity, the module team appreciate your time and constructive feedback. The Module Team Chair is finding the rich data you provided very useful. Your comments and ideas will be used to inform the next design stage and your feedback is highly valuable in this process.

ME321 Drag and drop trigonometry task survey

Level 1 Maths Ed students were invited to test a new interactive drag and drop activity. Thank you to all participants, some of the responses were very detailed, which is highly appreciated by the module team. The Module Team Chair is expected to provide detailed feedback on the actions taken as a result of the student feedback gained, and this will be shared on We-Learn.

T366 Nano-scale engineering lab

This short panel activity introduced and tested NanoLab and some of the tools available within it. Students looked at the activity instructions and commented on how easy they were to follow. A module team member said:

This feedback is brilliant and very timely for completing the final text. It is interesting that so many students liked the blood cell - virus comparison. That is really good to know. It is also interesting that a lot of students did not like the ambiguity associated with the transistor measurement. I will have to think about how we can improve that. Overall it is reassuring that the feedback is positive and helpful to know what needs improving. This testing has been fantastically successful for the module team. Thank you very much.

On-Line Exams Project

In this panel activity, students completed an online survey which included questions about experiences with assessment overall, with online exams, views on synchronous and asynchronous online exams formats (as a replacement to face-to-face exams), and personal circumstances that may have affected online exam preferences. You provided excellent feedback which will help the university to understand issues the online exams are trying to address and help determine whether these are meeting student needs. The full report will form the base for more extensive research on the topic. Thank you all for your participation.

Virtual Microscope Study (SDK100 and S112)

Three small groups of panel members took part in this activity. Its purpose was to provide some insight into the use of the new OU Virtual Microscope (VM). The data collected will help improve the new version of the VM. Thank you to all who completed the activity and for the feedback provided; the full analysis will be available at a later date.

Student Device Survey (No. 5)

The full panel was invited to take part in this recurring activity to identify trends in the devices students currently use to study, and which they might be interested in using. Thank you to everybody who took part in this and linked surveys, the valuable feedback you provided will be used to inform future production processes and when making decisions regarding the distribution of learning materials to students. If you would like to know more about this wider project and findings to date, this can be found on the OU Learning Innovations site.

BB853 MBA Elective Module

The module team author wanted to find out how students feel about being asked to rate themselves on how ethical they are. The activity worked well, and students engaged with it as requested (including some who said how much they enjoyed it). The results have been passed to the module team author and are currently being evaluated. Thank you to everybody who took the time to participate.

If you have any questions about current or upcoming activities, do get in touch with the team at

They look forward to working with you over the next few months and would like to thank you for your continued support in helping them to represent you in our curriculum design work.