About this project

The Staffordshire University Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Coaching Programme is a staff development initiative, aiming to coach colleagues as they develop their teaching practice using Microsoft technologies. 

The SUMEC Programme was founded by Fran Brown-Cornwall, Lecturer in the Institute of Education, and Matt Coombe-Boxall, Online Learning Technologist. First launched as a pilot with the School of Life Science and Education in January 2021, it aims to coach colleagues as they develop their teaching practice using Microsoft technologies. The programme consists of a range of activities, including fortnightly community workshops, one-to-one coaching meetings and an end-of-programme showcase, which support colleagues towards applying for Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert status - official Microsoft accreditation.

Following the success of the pilot, we applied to become a SCoLPP Innovation project so that we could develop the programme further, potentially scale it year on year, and produce a thorough evaluation of the programme harnessing the expert support from SCoLPP. Read on to find out more about the programme and our research.

Associated researchers

Francesca Brown-Cornwall


I’m an Early Childhood Specialist and hybrid Psychology and Education researcher fascinated by smiles, laughter and thinking. I am passionate about supporting a skilled, innovative and joyful workforce in childhood and educational services.

Francesca's profile

Matthew Coombe-Boxall

Learning And Development Advisor

Origins and aims

The programme was borne from a discussion about supporting academics develop their teaching practice with Microsoft technologies, having reflected on our own use of Microsoft tools, our experience of applying for Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Expert status, and the benefits of becoming part of a community of global educators. As advocates of Microsoft technologies, we wanted to support colleagues with their own application journeys, recognising their existing practice and coaching them as they developed their practice, and building a community in the process; all of which, we hoped, would add value to the application process.

To ensure that the we provided a worthwhile development opportunity and stuck to our vision of adding value to the application process, we formed a set of four programme aims:

  • Enable staff to become leaders and advocates of Microsoft Technology to enhance teaching and learning by developing digital skills.
  • Prepare staff for the changing digital landscape within HE by developing agility and confidence.
  • Showcase and measure the innovation and quality of Microsoft facilitated teaching and learning at Staffordshire University.
  • ​​​​​​​Facilitate accreditation, achievement and recognition of skills, namely via the MIE Expert status application, but not limited to this.


We constructed the programme using Gilly Salmon's Five Stage Model for scaffolding online courses. With the pilot launching during the Covid pandemic, we opted to run the programme completely online, although this year we plan to introduce some on-site elements, such as the Showcase.

Every workshop has a different theme. The earlier workshops focus on online orientation, setting goals (access and motivation), and building community (online socialisation), before colleagues start to discover key resources, building and sharing knowledge and their existing good practice, and finally disseminating their work and development through the showcase and application.

Influenced by Stella Jones-Devitt's approach to incorporating evaluation into a project prior to implementation, we built evaluation activities throughout the programme at strategic points so that we could capture and evidence the impact of the programme - we are currently in the process of completing our pilot evaluation.

Early findings identified from the evaluation include:

  • 12 colleagues completed the programme; of these 12, 9 submitted their MIE Expert applications and all 9 were successful.
  • All colleagues who completed the final evaluation agreed that the SUMEC met its aims.
  • All colleagues who completed the programme agreed that they had achieved what they wanted from the programme and that it had supported their development.
  • Most colleagues identified time and workload as a challenge for engaging with SUMEC and self-development, with one colleague suggesting that “self-development is not seen as a priority within workloads and when something needs to give this needs to be it”.
UK University

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

for Job Prospects

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

for Student Satisfaction

Complete University Guide 2022

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

for Course Content

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021