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Curriculum Design Student Panel wins award

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The Curriculum Design Student Panel has received national recognition for its innovative and sustained use of the student voice to inform the design of distance learning.

The panel was set up in 2016 to enable students to contribute directly to the planning and improvement of the University’s curriculum. Following a Learning Innovation staff-student hack day, the need for direct access to students was identified, which was also echoed in student feedback and Quality Assurance Agency Review recommendations. Initially, a group of 450 students were recruited. Since then the panel has grown to around 2000 members and over the last year has been integrated into business as usual for the Learning Design team.

At the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) conference in September, this ongoing work to support distance learners was highly commended in the Learning Technologist of the Year team award category.

Student panel members take part in a variety of activities, large and small. Over the last year, these have included:

  • A survey on student forum use
  • The Jisc digital experience survey, a joint activity with Library panel members
  • Feeding back on plans for the FutureYou PDP tool
  • Exploring how interactive video could be useful to students
  • Several module-specific activities, including: a digital skills self-assessment quiz for a level 2 Business module, use of Wikis in a postgraduate education module and developing an interactive activity to replace text-based content in a level 2 STEM module.

The Learning Design team’s partnership approach to design is being further developed with a newly-established Associate Lecturer panel who will add to the rich set of evidence being obtained through the student panel.

“I have very much enjoyed being part of this panel and seeing the results…I think having student’s opinions is very important and helps us personally to feel more involved with and connect to the OU which due to being distance learners can at times feel very difficult” - Student panel member.

“Student panel activities help to bridge the gap between module designers and students, which is especially important in a distance learning context” – Dot Coley, Learning Designer

“The significance of the student voice in course design is often acknowledged but not always acted upon. It can be particularly difficult to capture in online/distance education, so the approach of this project to incorporate a robust and representative student voice at the design stage offers a model for others to follow.” - ALT-C judging panel