The Academic Projects department has two main strands of work. The first focuses on increasing student engagement and improving the student experience through curricula and co-curricular activities. We design and deliver activities that use evidence-based approaches, for Welcome Week, Induction and Learning and Teaching. We co-lead the Student Manifesto Project with the Student Union, lead the Staffordshire E.D.G.E enrichment programme and the deployment of learner analytics to re-engage students through hyper-personalised interventions. The second strand of our work focuses on curriculum management via the New Course Approval Process and through procurement of curriculum management software.
Student Engagement Project and Toolkit
This project is exploring the theory of student engagement in higher education and identifying evidence-based activities to enhance student engagement across the student journey. the Academic Projects department is working in partnership with schools to develop a toolkit of resources and activities for university staff to use with students before they arrive, during Welcome Week and Induction and beyond. The Toolkit aims to help staff:
- Create a psychologically safe environment
- Foster a sense of belonging
- Get to know their students, understand student expectations and fulfil their learning needs
- Co-create learning with students
Student Manifesto Project
In March 2022 the UPP Foundation released their findings on what students needed from their universities post-pandemic. The recommendations from the research were that universities work in partnership with their students to co-create a Student Manifesto which outlines how and when they will support students to overcome the challenges they have encountered consequently. Staffordshire University has welcomed this, and the Students’ Union are working with AQD, academic and student support colleagues on six strands of work including transition, lost learning, wellbeing and mental health, teaching and learning strategies, employability and enterprise development and graduate outcomes.
- EDGE aims to equip our students with knowledge and skills that help them develop personally, academically, socially and in their future careers. Across the university, we have created a wide range of activities which build:
- Work skills and practices
- Academic skills
- Digital skills
- Employability and entrepreneurial skills
- Wellbeing and life skills
- Civic engagement experience
- Knowledge and understanding of sustainability
Activities have clear learning outcomes and wherever possible are embedded into curricula, attracting different points dependent on their level. Activities within and across themes can be stacked together allowing students to be awarded Bronze, Silver or Gold when they accumulate enough points. Some activities earn badges that can be added to CVs (for example Microsoft Digital Badges). Students holding the top five highest number of points at the end of the year are rewarded with vouchers.
Meeting the APP targets: Getting to Know your Students and equality of outcomes for all
Working closely with the Education Research and Evaluation (EREV) team, we are building a learner analytic which uses multiple measures of attendance and engagement to enable us to identify students who are at risk of dis-engaging and not achieving as well as they might. Over time this will be built into a predictive analytic which uses multiple data streams to predict engagement and attainment allowing the university to intervene and drastically improve student outcomes. In tandem with this the EREV team are building a measure of education gain. All of these measures will be available in dashboards to academic mentors and course teams, helping them to recognise when, where and how to intervene. These measures will help the Academic Projects department evaluate the efficacy of its own projects, building a resource base of ‘what works’ at Staffordshire.
Curriculum Management: From Conceptualisation through to publication
We are regenerating the complete course conceptualisation through to publication process to improve the universities course portfuolio and enable courses to be created, validated and published in an efficient and effective manner. It is overseen by a team of key staff to ensure that at any given point we can identify where a course is and how to move it forward. Initial phases of conceptualisation (owned by schools) and executive approval precede design sprints and validation (supported by our Quality team). Courses then move through a series of steps which Academic Projects oversee, managing the workflow from team to team: curriculum build, web structure building, admissions and marketing, before students are able to apply.
The above NCP process is a temporary measure to improve the efficiency of course design and publication until a Curriculum Management System is procured and set up. Academic Projects is currently reviewing provision from three providers before writing a business case and beginning the processes of refining university wide requirements for the system and initiating implementation. If you wish to contribute to this process and ensure the system will meet your department’s requirements, please get in touch with Jill.
Head of Department: Dr Jill Hanson
Micro-credentials in partnership with TILE and Digital Pedagogies
Staffordshire University has developed a framework for the delivery of micro-credentials from Summer 2023. Micro-credentials will be offered online and as blended/face-to-face courses, each worth 10 credits, that can be stacked with up to three other micro-credentials into units of 40 credits. Our new TDI platform will be used for the delivery and assessment of all micro-credentials.
The development and delivery of these new short courses will be homed within two new units at Staffordshire: Staffs Online which will house all our Distance Learning courses and Staffs Professional which will house all short courses and MCs that are blended or face to face.