Transformational change in learning and teaching

Posted in: Education strategy

I am pleased to update you on the next phase in delivering Bath’s Education Strategy.

We are rightly proud of our reputation for excellence in learning and teaching. However, as many of you have commented, the current structures for our curricula and assessment were designed 20 years ago, in a very different external and internal (university) environment. They no longer encourage us to engage with the latest approaches to teaching and assessment, no longer ensure the best use of campus resources and risk blinding us to the needs of future graduates in a rapidly changing society.

Consequently, I’m pleased to report that Senate recently approved ambitious plans for transformational change in learning and teaching across our UG and PGT programmes.

Over the coming year we will work with Academic Departments, Professional Services and the Students’ Union to develop new programme structures which will ensure our learning and teaching continues to be outstanding.

The proposals include:

·         A greater focus on students' experience of the entire programme rather than the individual unit, moving to a more programme-centred rather than modular approach. This approach may lead us to see the benefits of having fewer, ‘deeper’ units.

·         Making assessment smarter and more effective, while reducing the overall quantity. This may include integrated assessments across units which test the application of knowledge. The result should be that staff have more time to develop teaching and give constructive feedback, and students have more time to learn and apply their knowledge.

·         Facilitating more creative approaches to teaching and modes of delivery, including greater use of blended learning.

·         Embedding skills more effectively and consistently from Year 1.

Based on feedback from staff and students we have drafted a set of principles and parameters that all of our programmes will follow. These are intended to shape development whilst still allowing departments to have flexibility and control over their learning and teaching.

There is no one model to fit all departments; rather, this is a real opportunity for departments to rethink their teaching to ensure that their programmes – and the University – continue to be at the forefront of learning and teaching.

We are aiming to redesign all UG and PGT programmes by 2020/21. This is an exciting and challenging time that will involve all those working to support and deliver learning and teaching.

A number of departments have volunteered to start the transformation process early. These ‘vanguard programmes’ will be launched in 2019/20 and will enable us to test processes and better support subsequent changes.

The CLT has already begun to work with colleagues and students to redesign the vanguard programmes’ curricula, and Academic Registry will support the development of revised academic frameworks and assessment criteria.

Thank you to all those staff and students who helped to formulate these plans and the many more who will contribute as they progress. In the coming months we will be holding a number of events, including departmental visits and Town Hall-style discussions. These will provide more information and give you an opportunity to share your thoughts. I look forward to sharing more details with you shortly.

In the meantime, please do contact us if you have any comments or questions.

Posted in: Education strategy

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