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  • Video transcript

    [Slide 1 reads:

    Curriculum Reimagined. Deputy Pro Vice Chancellors: Prof Claire Smith, Prof Jessica Horst

    Senior Project Manager Helen Mc Aleer]

    Claire Smith: Good morning everyone, and a really warm welcome to our fifth Curriculum Reimagined Open Meeting

    Joined today by colleagues Professor Jessica Host and Helen Mac Aleer as well.

    It's really exciting that this is our fifth meeting, we started really thinking about Curriculum Reimagined in the January February time.

    And there has been an awful lot going on. So the purpose of our meeting today is to really give you those headlines on what's been happening and to give you opportunity as well to ask lots of questions.

    Jessica would you like to introduce yourself please?

    Jessica Horst: Sure, thanks Claire. I'm Jessica Horst, I'm currently Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor for Academic Experience. And previously the I was the Director of Teaching and Learning for the School of Psychology.

    For Curriculum Reimagined I oversee the Architecture & Structure workstream which has much to do with streamlining and some of the sort of support systems which help to reimagine things which we'll hear about in a moment

    Claire Smith: Thank you, Helen would you like to introduce yourself as well please?

    Helen MC Aleer: Hello everyone. Hi I'm Helen Mc Aleer, Senior Project Manager working on Curriculum Reimagined. And also in the background we also have Mel Lawrance, Project Support Officer and Paul Metcalf who just started as our Change Manager, which we're very happy about and I'll be answering any questions if you need me to.

    Claire Smith: Thank you Helen

    [Slide 2 Reads:

    Curriculum Reimagined

    Curriculum Reimagined (CR) is an institutional review of our educational offer and the structures that enable it.

    - A restorative component to fix the frameworks and support the structures (e.g. the online prospectus, the academic year structure)

    - A reimagining component that will enable us to deliver the next strategy; embedding Sussex Choice, Sustainability, Inclusivity, Human Flourishing to improve the student experience, reduce awarding gaps and improve graduate outcomes

    The project will be delivered over three years (2023 – 2026), through four workstreams: Distinctive, Future- Proofers, Inclusive and Streamlined]

    Claire Smith: It's really good to maybe just take a little step back and think well actually, what are we trying to aim to do as part of Curriculum Reimagined.

    Curriculum Reimagined is our institutional review of our educational offer. And also all of the structures that enable it and support it.

    It's got two components to it. The first is a restoring component that's really helping to fix some of the things that maybe don't quite work anymore

    The second is that reimagining component of how we're going to enable us to deliver the next part of the institutional strategy and educational provision going forward

    It's a three year project and it's working through four workstreams which are: distinctive, futureproofed, inclusive and streamlined

    Now, this is our overall benefits map for the project and you can se the principles on there

    The column that I'd really like to focus on today is the benefits column. Actually I'm going to back back to this part.

    [Slide 3 reads:

    What does this mean for me? The slide is explained below]

    Was actually what does it mean for me as an individual and for, obviously within your, not me as an individual, you as an individual with your roles.

    We really want to make sure that we seek to improve and increase the adaptability of the curriculum to teach what is current and what we need to teach and assess in a way that is relevant for students

    We want to be sure that we improve student and staff experiences

    We want to increase quality students applications and we want to help with the supporting structures that enable the delivery of our educational offer.

    We really want to help reduce 6pm, post 6pm teaching, really to actually pretty much nothing unless anyone's choosing to do that for particular reasons or it suits particular courses.

    We want to see a reduction in academic misconduct and a reduction in how we have our reasonable adjustments and extenuating circumstances claims by making our offer more inclusive.

    In terms of actually how this is structured on our timeline we can see where we are.

    [Slide 4 reads:

    Curriculum Reimagined plan on a page. Project delivery timeline from plan to handover.

    Explained below]

    In this part at the moment here and we're going to go through today and tell you a little bit about some of the different things we're working on.

    [Slide 5 reads:

    Semester 1 summary. Explained below]

    We've really been focusing in this semester one on our curriculum framework.

    This is a document which bridges between our institutional and strategy and aims and where we have then our institutional policies, the actual kind of how to, it's going to say what it does on the tin.

    Many of you have been involved in the various drafts of this, to date. It's up to about version number 81 and we're seeking to launch it for, further consultation in February round until about springtime.

    The colleagues within AQP and education enhancement have been really working to embed case studies within that for us.

    We've been working with our University Executive Team to seek approvals for how we, the information that we put in our online prospectus, which I'll update you on.

    Jessica's been working on, some proposals for the academic year through her task and finish group, which she's going to update you on today.

    And the work that she's been doing on improving and streamlining on interdisciplinary focus. Through, through the elective provision.

    With task and finish groups I've been working on, what the future of our assessments is going to look like and I'd like to update you on that as well today.

    And we've gained, Outline Business Case approval in October and will be seeking Final Business Case approval in the January February time.

    [Slide 5 reads: Curriculum Reimagined: Curriculum Framework]

    So the first thing to say about is our Curriculum Framework. Okay, if we go through maybe at the bottom left the level that we're all maybe really more familiar with.

    We're familiar with our exams of assessment regulations, we're familiar with our lecture recording policies and the whole range of different diversity policies that we operate under our daily basis.

    We're really familiar with, with the strategy that was, Learn to transform and the institution is developing its new strategy.

    But actually sometimes what we're missing is that actually what we saying our overall approach to this is what's our overall approach to, to hybrid teaching to blended teaching to and our approach to what types of degree programs we have.

    What our assessment approach is. So we're working, this is what our curriculum framework is going to do.

    We're going to start really, it was lots and lots of drafts. So start re communicating what is kind of getting towards that kind of version 2 near final draft from the January time.

    And it will be taken to the main University Education Committee for that kind of final sign off to be implemented in September 24.

    It's because it's going to be a working document. And it will be placed on our institutional web pages.

    It's going to be there to help guide, changes through Curriculum Reimagined by saying really what that institutional overall focus is.

    Now, I'm going to just stop and see if any, anyone has any questions about the curriculum framework.

    Before we move on to the next, next thing. As you all know, it's always difficult to present and manage this chat thing. Jessica is there anything I need to stop for?

    Jessica Horst: Nothing.

    Claire Smith: Okay.

    [Slide 6 reads: Curriculum Reimagined Online Prospectus]

    The next update is about our online prospectus or our prospectus overall.

    [Slide 7 reads: Prospectus. This is explained in detail below]

    Some of the things that you told us in our scoping phase of Curriculum Reimagined earlier on in the year was actually to do with the lead in times that it takes for the institution to make changes to the curriculum offer.

    Staff were saying about if they're being kind of bound by long time lines.

    And then, you know, changes would then need to go out, we'd need to contact students, make changes.

    So it wasn't really helping, our curriculum be innovative, able to adapt to, to adapt to students changes, to employers changes

    to, and things that happen within our environment that can be brought into the curriculum and how we might like to assess it.

    With a focus on module level detail provided in the curriculum, provided in the prospectus.

    This was adding a level of complexity and that when working with student groups was actually probably tying ourselves in some knots.

    We undertook 3 workshops to really help untie some of those knots.

    And then took forward to the University Executive Team a proposal to change the, have the timelines and the amount of information that goes forward into the prospectus.

    Something that students told us they really like seeing is the donut models which you can see on the page here.

    And we're very much going to be keeping those, but bringing it up rather than lots of donuts at module level, bringing it up to, donuts at course level and you can see an example, here.

    With regards to the timeline, oh, sorry, I forgot to say about, module level.

    So core modules will still be presented to students. But rather than present, for example, 67 modules that they might be able to take, if the course has a core 5, 6, 7 modules structured across the different years. Then that information will still be provided.

    With regards to the timelines, we're really looking to see how we can shorten those timelines so that we're not really thinking about the 2 year, 2 year lead in time.

    We're slightly constrained by the UCAS cycle by the cycle that exists externally, but we really want to be working to improve that flexibility.

    And also improve the compliance that we have with the Competitions and Marketing Authority as well.

    We want them to be working, reducing workarounds and workflows that are associated with workarounds.

    [Slide 8 reads: Timelines - explained below]

    Now, I have um, I tried to make this little stick person diagram, of this, and we're working on some nice infographics which we'll be launching in the new year with actually what this is going to be looking like going forward.

    I think if we think about here where when our students are starting A levels, this is when we're asking our teachers to say what do you want to teach those students when they arrive with us.

    And so this leads to a few things that we really do want to change.

    We want to change the number of times we have to go back to students and say sorry we've changed our mind we're going to do this because it makes us look like we're unorganized rather than actually looking like we're adapting.

    It opens us up, with regards to, lack compliance if we don't go back to the students as well.

    It's also difficult as a teacher and as an educator to really be thinking, well, what do I want in this course to change deadlines?

    What do I want to be teaching in 2 years time? And then when we get to it we can't always remember what we said we were going to do.

    And so really hopefully reducing those areas and really minimizing this timeline as well.

    Just before we move on to say this regards, we're going to be running some specific, sessions, communication sessions, and really starting with, with Course Conveners and associated Professional Services staff in the January February time. So you will hear more about this.


    Jessica Horst: Oh. Claire, there was a question in the chat from Peter. I think I may have answered it.

    Claire Smith: Okay.

    Jessica Horst: He was asking if there would be support to help Course Conveners to create those donut charts at course level and

    I said I believe that that is one of the possibilities that we're looking at and then I also plug the meetings that you just mentioned with key Professional Services staff and Course Conveners for the new year.

    Very much definitely help support with Course Convenors to be really looking at those looking at those donuts

    As part of the Student Information System and as part of these changes, there's probably going to be a little bit where it is a sort of, we're going to have to adapt things slightly.

    But, longer term, it's going to be much easier to have this information coming in and really working on that single sort of truth of information for course degrees, which will make that much smoother as well.

    I'm going to hand over to Jessica now, to kindly tell us about the work that herself and her task and finish groups have been doing on the Academic Year.

    Jessica Horst: Okay, thanks, Claire. I think you're still sharing slides. Oh wait, do you want me to do it?


    I can switch over. Yeah, that might be a little bit easier. While I'm getting that ready, I don't know if there's more Academic Year questions.

    Okay, hopefully you can now see, see the slides again. Okay, so I meant Prospectus questions.

    [Slide 9 reads: Curriculum Reimagined Academic Year Options]

    So for the Academic Year, this is something that, similar to the prospectus, came up early on in our scoping phase.

    [Slide 10: Academic Year Review – slide explained below]

    So when we ran our survey about what are the sort of things that you'd like Curriculum Reimagined to explore?

    There were a very large number of comments about the Academic Year. This happened sort of in parallel with a bunch of sort of bottom up comments and feedback that we were getting from students and also from the division for Student Experience.

    So there was a lot of interest in exploring if the current format that we have to the Academic Year is in fact what we want to have going forward.

    And in addition, when we then explored what was meant to be delivered by what we currently have, it turns out that a bunch of the promises have not been fulfilled exactly quite yet. So no matter what we do, there's going to be work to be done.

    [Slide 11: Academic Year Review – explained below]

    So a big item that, keeps coming up over and over again both for staff and for students is that we need more breathing space.

    More time around the resit period, more time in term time to just sort of like, you know, consolidate what you've learned, plan your assessments.

    Keep up to speed. In in some cases register with for learning differences and all of that. So we used that as sort of the starting point in our task and finish group.

    We also discussed some of the constraints that are placed on us.

    Both in terms of things like we cannot control when A level results are released and other constraints such as none of our comparator universities have fewer than 11 weeks of teaching, you know, content weeks. And we also realized that the one thing that the current model and the model before it

    have delivered on well is this mid year assessment period that is very popular at Sussex.

    And so what we were tasked with, was simply determining 2 or 3 options to take to University Education Committee and that committee will make the decision in February and then that will you know go through the rest of the governance cycle to Senate and so on.

    Unfortunately because of some of these constraints the options are mutually exclusive. We cannot do it all. There just are not enough calendar weeks.

    And so we have to decide what trade-offs we're willing to make.

    [Slide 12: Principles and Constraints – explained below]

    And so again, some of our principles were: maintaining the midyear assessment period, adding breathing space, being mindful of quite how diverse our community, both students and staff are.

    We discussed how value for money is not merely how many contact hours do you have on your degree.

    We also agreed that if we include something like reading weeks, we want to call them consolidation week.

    Because it's about so much more than just reading and we had strong steers from University Executive Team and others that we mustn’t have a proposal that has fewer than 11 teaching weeks and we also are not going to go back to 3 academic terms.

    So those are the 2 items that you can see on this slide or off the table.

    All right, so our 3 options currently in the draft that they're in.

    [Slide 12: Three options – explained below]

    Look like this. Each one has a welcome week at 11 weeks of teaching. And lots of periods of

    vacation time and periods for exams. The differences are that in what we do now, students begin very late September.

    We go through 11 weeks. We have winter vacation as we know it. Mid-year assessment period and intercession week.

    9 weeks roughly of teaching, then we handle the Easter Bank holidays, then we have a little bit of straggler time.

    And then, you know, last little bit of the semester and then we go into our second assessment period.

    One option is to move the midyear assessment period earlier into December.

    This would still give us the same amount of time for everything, but the entire cycle would end a little bit earlier because now we don't have to navigate around those bank holidays quite in the same way.

    And it would mean that the winter vacation period is a real break for students and hopefully also for staff.

    In the third option we would insert consolidation periods across the university.

    Right now, there are several different mixed models of if there are reading weeks or not.

    This is particularly problematic for students on joint degrees or students who have a minor or take an elective stream.

    But this would be across the institution and unlike now we would also include a consolidation period in the spring and then depending on how early Easter is every once in a while approximately if you look over time approximately every 5 years,

    Easter is early enough that it would still be in term time and we would have the bank holidays off as one of our comparator institutions is moving towards as well.

    The entire year would just start one week earlier in those 2 options and finish at least one week possibly 2 weeks earlier now and in these options the resit period A3 could be moved forward so that it's earlier in August, possibly the end of July. So that we have more time to get students their results before the next academic year.

    [Slide 12: Three options. Explained below]

    So another way to look at this is sort of by category, same amount of teaching in all of the models, assessment periods are the same length, assessment periods one and 2, and then we have welcome week and all of them and either the intercession week or consolidation weeks.

    [Slide 13: Commonalities

    11 weeks teaching (contact time)

    2 week mid year assessment (A1)

    3 week end of year assessment (A3)

    Dedicated time for enrichment activities (eg Global Grand Challenge)

    Students have 3 weeks off winter vacation

    Students have at least 3 weeks off in Spring vacation

    At least 16 weeks between end of A2 and Welcome Week

    Earliest implementation 2025-26]

    So I think I've already told you about the commonality between those. The earliest we would implement these changes would be for the 25/26 academic year.

    As we've alluded to with the prospectus, there's a bit of lag time to make these changes

    when we're dealing with things like UCAS and student visas and all sorts of external constraints.

    [Slide 14: Current model

    -No unique advantages

    - Intersession week

    Reduced “Breathing space and inconsistent reading weeks”

    Reduced student engagement at end of Spring term

    Large admin burden at end of Spring term

    Perceived value for money for International students “doing nothing” in intersession week

    Inconsistent terminology]

    I've gone through the models a bit in detail, but I'm just gonna put this slide here for anyone watching the recording who might want to pause and use the QR code to look at what we're doing now. On the left, I have the sort of advantages in yellow and then the disadvantages on the screen.

    [Slide 15: Mid year assessment, explained below]

    Again, for the mid-year assessment period moving forward, this has many advantages such as removing the need for alternative modes of assessment for visiting and exchange students, but there are trade-offs such as, for students applying for jobs in the autumn semester.

    Then that kind of. It comes up at, a time when they might have, certain assessments going on.

    [Slide 16: Consolidation week, explained below]

    The consolidation week model also has certain unique advantages like giving us a space in the semester where we can take mid semester module evaluations and crunch the data come up with a response and then when we resume teaching after the consolidation period we can say to students thank you for your feedback.

    This is what we're going to do for the rest of the semester. But then some students, you know, might decide to consolidate at home, which may or may not, be a good thing depending on their mental health and where they live and the other things going on for them.

    So there are pros and cons to each model.

    [Slide 17: Next steps, explained below]

    The current steps or next steps, we're nearing the end of our consultation with students.

    We've consulted with students in each school. We're consulting with staff in each school through University Education Committees through messaging to Heads of School, DTL's and DOSE's, and also through the Heads of Professional Services and the Senior Education Managers.

    Of course I welcome your feedback and thoughts as well.

    If you would like to simply share your feedbacks and thoughts with the Curriculum Reimagined team directly by all means feel free to reach out and email me at jessica@sussex.a.c.uk

    We've also gone through and sense checked everything that would make it into the proposal with HR, ITS, the Unions, Student Finance, Admissions and so on. And we're in the middle of conducting our Equalities Impact Assessment.

    And all of this information is then going to form the backdrop of that paper that will go to you University Education Committee.

    And at this point, I really just sort of want to stress that this is really coming from comments from the community feedback that we're getting from the community, and hopefully in my in my presentation, maybe the reason that that this is less passionate of, oh, this is going to be great, like the changes to the prospectus, is because as a team within Curriculum Reimagined, we're really trying to represent the community, right?

    And in some cases that means being a bit agnostic, right? So we're taking all the feedback, all the pros and cons.

    What our students want, what our colleagues want, or don't want, and then that will be presented to University Education Committee.

    If it turns out that everyone says, well, those 2 models are interesting, but you know what? What we have now, yeah, it's broken, but it's the best of the broken thing.

    There's there's a quote about democracy being like that you know it's the worst form of government except for all the others.

    If that's what we come up with that's fine then instead of implementing one of the other models we will start implementing changes to do things like increase the time between when students get their resit results and start the next semester.

    My voice made it all the way through. I'm quite pleased because I've been poorly lately.

    Claire Smith: Just to give you the chance to have a sip of water, there's a question from Peter with regards to exam board timings and also about A3.

    And, just, yeah, give, just a chance to breathe. With regard to, A 3, one of the things that we have been, as part of assessments is actually thinking about what modes of assessment and what opportunities for assessments, what things need to sit in A3, and what things might be possible to, move into a new retrieval in a way that works for different courses and different types of assessments. So that may reduce some of the needs for A3.

    It's not going to completely remove it, of course.

    So Jessica, is there anything you can say further about exam board timings and A3, please.

    Jessica Horst: Sure. In the model that we have now because of how late A2 ends and then the exam boards and getting ready for graduation and all of that.

    We start our resit period A3 relatively late and we actually have have quite a sort of crunch time and not very very much time for students to get their results afterwards and then lead into Welcome Week and the start of term.

    I'm using Welcome Week in case they, you know, decide to switch courses or or take a period off.

    In the other models if we move the mid year assessment period forward we could be starting the resit period one to 2 weeks earlier than now.

    In the consolidation week model, we could start the resit period earlier.

    At the moment, the draft calendar that we have that is we're gonna be we've done the mapping for 2025/26 to 2029/30

    We're going to do the other 5 years so that it matches the 10 year timeline of the new University strategy.

    Once we've done that it'll be more easily accessible. At the moment, the way that we have the A3, resit period is that it would be 3 weeks long. As part of our task and finish group, we had colleagues from AQP and from the new Student Information System implementation team in the room who were able to advise with how we might be able to really shave off some time with the processing going forward.

    I cannot promise anything right now on the new Student Information System and how that's going to be implemented but that is an area that I'm very optimistic about.

    So hopefully we'll have a lot more time there. And I see that Claire is answering the questions about optional modules already in the chat so I can hand back to Claire.

    Claire Smith: Thank you. I think I've answered.

    We've got a number of courses which are already working, sort of before Curriculum Reimagined came about to that course level information. So we've got some examples that we've got some feedback already from students so we'll drop some of those, in the chat as part of that.

    Quick question before we hand back over to me, Jessica, about online courses included in Curriculum Reimagined particularly related to assessment periods.

    Curriculum Reimagined in the scoping phase, and we wanted to include all of the institutional offer, but recognize that part of ODL and some very specific courses such as Medicine.

    Some teaching courses are run actually, you know, they're kind of they can't be included in every part of it.

    So what we're really working towards is to looking at where that kind of non-standard provision.

    Non-standard offer where things can be brought across from Curriculum Reimagined that really help and support that offer.

    But without yes, we won't be changing the assessment periods for, ODL delivery.

    Yeah. Yeah, at least not at this time.

    I'm going to go back to sharing my screen

    [Slide 16: Curriculum Reimagined. Assessments]

    Hopefully that's okay. So thinking about how we can partly sort of fix and nourish and restructure assessments and also how we can really reimagine assessments going forward.

    Is a very big ask. And the Curriculum and Assessment group, then looked across the institution, to make sure that there was other representative voices coming in. So we formed a task and finish group which has met a number of times now and will continue to meet.

    But I wanted to update you today on where we're at with that because everyone has something to say about assessments.

    The first part of this group was really that we're looking at what's in scope and what's out of scope for in considering our assessments going forward.

    [Slide 17: Assessments Scope.

    In scope:

    Principles of Assessment






    In-year retrieval




    Resit modes

    Reasonable Adjustments

    Out of scope:


    Digital Skills

    Wholesale return to in person

    Business as usual via EAR

    Non-credit bearing]

    And you can see these on the screen here. It's very difficult to put things out of scope, but we have to be very realistic about what we can achieve as part of Curriculum Reimagined over the next couple of years.

    What's part of business as usual?

    And what's part of kind of life after Curriculum Reimagined as we continue to develop our curriculum going forward.

    We undertook a survey which we're very great for, colleagues for, responding to.

    [Slide 17 reads: Currently at Sussex I feel. Explained below]

    Nearly 300 responses.

    And this is a quick overview of actually what you told us success if she currently feel I think these obviously you've got some work to do on these but actually these are you know quite solid responses actually with regard to the assessment difficulty, testing the learning outcomes, assessments being fair, that's something that within Curriculum Reimagined we want to really look at bringing in, much more of the authentic assessments and replicating, what employment and further study requires.

    With regards to increasing, the inclusivity of assessments, really bringing that into inclusivity within assessments at the design stage rather than a need to be fixing things actually when they're already running.

    [Slide 18 says: However. Explained below]

    A few things that did, concern, us really is about the, the modes of assessment meeting the needs of the course.

    And also the degree of choice that we offer to students within assessments and what that what that means.

    [Slide 19: Lists the types of assessments used at the University, explained below]

    You told us that this is the mode of assessment that are currently used, a very heavy reliance on, written based assessments essays, dissertations, and then moving, moving down, here.

    Obviously, you also recognize seeing that different numbers of students within courses, at the institution different numbers, of degree programmes will also have, slight nuances in that.

    [Slide 20: Missing modes. Explained below]

    But you did tell us that we are missing some modes and these are the ones we're really going to be looking at, particularly around digital focus ones related to, actually, yeah, gamification, e-portfolio, digital storytelling but also around kind of the development of social media and media use through blog posts, podcasts, etc, reflective journals, film moving into things such as, virtual reality.

    But also, one of the things for me about really actually how can assessments use AI as if it's going to be embedded.

    You know, using AI in our everyday life, how can we ensure that the AI provision from the university, is appropriate for students.

    Doesn't create any areas of digital poverty, so it's not paid for, an optional extra for students and how can we really embed it into our assessment offer and how to students then represent that in their assessment piece and say that they've used this, to create or are critiquing the material generated by AI.

    [Slide 21: Biggest concern. Explained below]

    Your biggest concern was the use of AI in assessments and that's something that we've been speaking and working with colleagues in, our ITS strategy, as well to be ensuring that institutional wide approach, to the use of AI within education.

    Also, I think really areas of concern I picked up on here was regards to the inclusivity and, marking of assessments as well.

    [Slide 22: Proposal. Explained below]

    So our proposal is that we are going to be working to nest assessments. And including new modes of assessments that you've that you've told us about.

    And nesting these assessments to the types of skills and knowledge. Knowledge , knowledge type matrix that they're going to be testing.

    We're going to propose these nests of a new modes of assessments to you. In semester 2 and we'd really appreciate your feedback on that.

    And as part of that overall assessment proposal with the types of modes of assessment, we'd really like to be thinking about how much choice we can embed for students.

    Embedding choice for students is part of how we're going to improve, the authenticity of assessments.

    It's how we're going to reduce reasonable adjustments. How we're going to reduce, academic misconduct.

    But choice can be problematic too. Too much choice for students can paralyze students, it can lead to, you know, really increasing amounts of staff workloads, and workarounds.

    So we really need to have, our Sussex approach developed as a balanced approach.

    And through the workshops we identified that choice within assessments really comes into areas such as timings.

    How and when assessment is taken but also how when that assessment is submitted or resubmitted and that can be helped through the use of digital time stamping.

    Actually, the optionality within a mode, if we nest our modes in a way that means that is it reasonable for a student, to choose, that over the course of their degree within a particular nest they have undertaken X and Y within a nest

    or it might be within a module that there's that level of choice, to do X or Y or that actually, the modules and courses are regulated by, professional strategy bodies and therefore there isn't any choice that could be brought in.

    The content choice exists within actually how the level of content students can choose in, essay topics, or blog topics or within, an assessment, that's a timed assessment within how many questions on different topics they answer.

    We also spent quite a lot of time talking about the environment in which the assessment is taken. Recognizing that, this is very different for, all students.

    For some students taking an assessment at home might be in their best interest and they have the environment to do so but for other students that could be really prohibitive.

    And the same for whether we choose in person, assessments as well, large groups, small groups.

    So we're going to be looking to, that I've had some questions around are we going to move back to wholesale in person exams?

    And to, to, front load that the answer is no to that, we've really seen a, a decrease in, in our awarding gap, and that's partly being brought about by the online assessments, but we're also really hearing that we need to make sure that those assessments are valid and are secure.

    So I think time to take a little break and see if there's any questions. So I'm just going to stop sharing.

    Okay. Any questions Jessica?

    Jessica Horst: Not yet. I don't know if colleagues are still formulating their questions about assessments.

    Claire Smith: I do appreciate it as we're heading into, teaching kind of slowing down a little bit.

    We've all been incredibly, incredibly busy and to be thinking about these really, yeah, sort of challenging areas.

    It might not be the best of times.

    Okay, so with in that case I will go back to

    Jessica Horst: Oh, there's a question now from Laura

    Laura Gallaher: Hello, sorry, sorry, and that was came in a bit late. And my camera isn't working, so sorry about that.

    I just have a the question about assessments and choice of assessments and what conversations have happened so far about how students will be sort of supported in making choice about assessments?

    So they might not be able to reflect enough in themselves to know what assessment might give them the best marks for example, or maybe they do have that knowledge and they always go the same one because

    you know they do well in it is there is there some kind of you know emotional and structural support that's being developed in relation to choice, please.

    Claire Smith: Thank you, that's brilliant question. We have had discussions about this and I think in the proposal that comes, that comes forward that we'd like, you know, lots of feedback on will be that notion of how do we scaffold assessments for students.

    Can we say that with regards to a summative assessment, so for example, the need to present, if it's by different means, whether it's, digitally recorded or in person?

    And it's going to form part of the, the awarding marks that there's an opportunity for students to try out that mode of assessment in some way, shape or form.

    Formatively, or in a way that they can see examples, so they can get used to that.

    With regard to choice, we also, we need to manage, as you say, students may be choosing an assessment mode that they know they've done well at before.

    And in a way that they can't repeat that assessment mode lots and lots of times, because that might be doing a disservice to actually their needs that, that employers might be needing to see.

    So sometimes it's supporting students to make that difficult choice. They might not have written a blog before might feel quite nervous about it, so how can we scaffold them to choose that option in a way that is that is supported so it's about enabling students to do things in a low risk, safe way before moving to, to high stakes.

    There was a third part to your question, which I'm really sorry I've got as well. What bit didn't I cover?

    Laura Gallaher: I'm not sure I can remember either, sorry, yeah, it was about whether they could sort of gauge themselves. What might work for them. And yeah, and it was about. About a variety of assessment. So I think you covered it. Thank you.

    Claire Smith: I think it's really about, this piece of work that we're really hoping to do with Course Conveners, is Course Conveners have that oversight of the different modules.

    And then about working to see what the overall aims of the course are and to make sure that those over all aims of the course and met.

    And but in a way that, it's, yeah, unrealistic to students to say, of all of the university, so many modes, what do you fancy doing?

    So how can we say to students we really want to be clearly testing you on these parts and as part of that.

    You might, yeah, for this assessment you can choose within this model. And within this one you might be able to choose within these types of options.

    And it's about feedback as well, isn't it? Completely always embedding the feedback on it.

    I don't know if colleagues from Educational Enhancement, and Academic Developers who've been working with us on this a lot.

    I don't want to throw them at into things, but, I can see Charlie, Sam, anything particularly you'd like to add to that that reflects our discussions?

    No, don't worry.

    Charlie: Sorry, Claire, my camera wasn't working for a second. Oh, sounds there too.

    Sam Hemsley: You go, Charlie.

    Charlie: I was just gonna echo what Claire said in terms of structuring and I think there's a lot to be said as well about I think what you were mentioning there, Laura, about student’s self-regulation and transitions across different years which would come from a kind of what Claire was talking about,

    this sort of core level approach that we keep mentioning and keeps coming up in task and finish groups as well.

    So really having that space for course leaders to think about what mode they want their students to develop this mastery in and having that scaffolded throughout.

    And that choice in a controlled way and then thinking about transitions I think what came up a lot in the assessment task and finish group a couple of weeks ago was the importance of the first year.

    And as Claire said that that those low stakes opportunities to try out different things. But also, you know, managing that transition into University and student’s understanding of what kinds of skills they need and their management of things like deadlines and timelines and understanding

    the understanding the development of their best skills and being able to articulate that as well.

    So I think that's definitely something that's going to be in the curriculum framework. As well, I think, and Claire, when thinking about how we manage students transitions and how they are articulate and understand their choices and understand their journey through University and their and their study as well.

    Sam I don't know if you have anything to add.

    Sam Hemsely: No, it was it was just to add, you know, it's that developing student assessment literacy through the first year as well and understanding the purpose of assessment.

    And how they can make choices that let them explore issues and topics they're interested in on approaches to communicating their learning that that suit them but also might challenge them and that first you again is that time to have those really interesting conversations about. You know, why they're here and how they might learn and how we support them to do it.

    That was my addition.

    Claire Smith: Thank you very much, and I think we really look forward to further conversations about this. So we're going to get, to further conversations about this.

    So we're going to get, a draft proposal out in semester to and we really do want everyone's engagement and questions and challenging this.

    But actually also really thinking about, the operations side of it is actually, well, great,

    we're going to be good to have these ideas in these proposals, but actually how do we deliver that?

    What's realistic? As well, so really bringing down that kind of really blue sky, reimagining thinking, into what's tangible, within the curriculum for now.

    So this leads us on,

    Jessica Horst: I'm sorry. Claire, there's a question in the chat, sorry. It was about the occupational health aspects of online assessments and how we may be supporting students going forward.

    Claire Smith: Helen, thank you. That's a really helpful question. This comes into the operational side of, what we're asking.

    And I think we have I haven't really got an answer for you at the moment other than to say.

    It's kind of on our, it's on our radar so with regard to remote assessments we've got some considerations about proctoring of them but also about the occupational health side of things.

    But actually that also comes we don't want to remove that occupational health side and from in person assessments and actually creating a positive environments for students to undertake those assessments in, which can be very difficult.

    I think we've all got memories of sitting in assessment halls that where you've got your own wobbly desk and it's cold and there's noise outside and things like that.

    So it's not very comfy. And so, yeah, definitely things to be thinking about and if you've got particular things related to that, please drop them on an email to, any of us, that'd be great to have further discussions.

    I’m going to share my last screen with you.

    [Slide 24 reads: Semester 2 activity. Explained below]

    This is about what we what we're doing going forward.

    It's really nice to look back and say this is part of and the calendar year we've done a lot of scoping as part of Curriculum Reimagined. We've been really listening to what our community is telling us they want to see within Curriculum Reimagined.

    So we have really redefined, not redefined, to find, actually what we're going to be focusing on,

    and this, semester that we're still in, it's, as you've heard, been making real headway on particular parts of that.

    So, we're going to be making sure that we launch that Curriculum Framework for consultation.

    We're going to be really starting to embed the changes with regard to the course prospectus because of that long lead in time.

    We need to be really thinking about, about that from, January, February.

    As Jessica said, there's going to be further, engagement with regards to the academic year structure.

    We haven't had a lot of time today to tell you about Jessica's brilliant work and her team's work on interdisciplinary focus, electives as well.

    But there's going to be more work, coming in, semester two with respect to that.

    Our assessment part we'd really like to test out our proposals within the community to then bring them to University Education Committee in May we'll be submitting our Final Business Case for Curriculum Reimagined, in January which is all related to release of funds for individuals involved in this.

    And the structures that the operational structures that are going to help support it and enable it to be in place.

    We continue to want to be having, really institutional collaboration, through these different groups.

    And one of the focuses in January / February time will also be our work with Course Conveners on actually Course Conveners overall as a group. But particularly starting off thinking about, those course prospectuses and changes.

    Over now, I'm going to stop sharing, to Jessica and Helen because I'm very sure there's bits I've forgotten to say and everyone else as well for any further questions.

    Helen Mc Aleer: I was just gonna add, along that list, which I know, you have in your head anyway, but, about thinking around working with Student Connectors and the continued work we're doing with the student body in the Students Union so. Just just to add that one in too.

    Claire Smith: That's brilliant. Thank you. We've been working with Student Connectors and Student Representatives but actually now we're going to start to get some tangible things about what we're going to want to be doing, to really working with our student colleagues further.

    Thank you, Helen, for remembering that.

    Okay. Can't see any questions. But to say that thank you very much for your time today.

    This presentation will be available on our website. Please feel free to share, cascade. Really thinking about, communication as well.

    If you're aware that we might be missing any particular groups, or you would like us to come and talk at any of your particular established committees, then we'll be really delighted to, so please get in contact and look forward to seeing you all at our next Open meetings which will be in the New Year.

    Thank you everyone. Have a good day.

  • Video transcript

    [First slide reads:

    Curriculum Reimagined: The future of assessments

    Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor, Prof Claire Smith, Prof Jessica Horst

    Claire Smith: Claire Smith, the Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor for Education and Innovation at the University of Sussex and the Senior Responsible Officer for Curriculum Reimagined, leading the work of the Curriculum and Assessment strand.

    We’re today as well by Jessica Horst. Jessica would you like to introduce yourself?

    Jessica Horst: Hi I'm Jessica Horst, currently Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor for Academic Experience and leading on the Streamlining elements of Curriculum Reimagined.

    Claire Smith: Thank you. And our Project Manager Helen, would you like to say hello?

    Helen Mc Aleer: Hello everyone, I'm Helen Mc Aleer, Senior Project Manager working on Curriculum Reimagined and great to see you all.

    Claire Smith: Thank you, it's so nice for people to put names to faces if, they haven't done names to faces, it's always nice to do.

    [Slide 2 reads:

    Curriculum Reimagined

    Curriculum Reimagined (CR) is an institutional review of our educational offer and the structures that enable it.

    - A restorative component to fix the frameworks and support the structures (e.g. the online prospectus, the academic year structure)

    - A reimagining component that will enable us to deliver the next strategy; embedding Sussex Choice, Sustainability, Inclusitivity, Human Flourishing to improve the student experience, reduce awarding gaps and improve graduate outcomes

    The project will be delivered over three years (2023 – 2026), through four workstreams: Distinctive, Future- Proofers, Inclusive and Streamlined]

    So if you haven't heard about Curriculum Reimagined, Curriculum Reimagined is our institutional review of it is a review of our educational offer and all of the structures that support it. And it involves two component parts to it.

    The first is a little bit of a fixing, repairing, restoring part, which particularly involves looking at things that you've told us haven't been working and trying to work that out.

    So things like the online prospectus, the academic year structure and we have a dedicated update on Curriculum Reimagined in two weeks time and I know Jessica, that you are going to go into much more detail about the academic year structure.

    There is then a reimagining component and the assessment work we're going to be doing today probably covers probably covers both of those.

    So it's really about actually with the assessments. How can we fix some of the things that we are no longer working for us.

    But how can we really reimagine our assessments to ensure that they're embedding Sussex choice sustainability, inclusivity, human flourishing.

    As part of our student experience. This project is delivered over 3 years through the 4 work streams.

    [Slide 3 reads:

    Semester 1 Activity

    September & October 2023

    The updates Academic Framework launched by the Academic Quality Partnerships team

    Seek University Executive Team approval for the changes regarding our published course information (prospectus)

    September – December 2023

    Project leads Claire Smith and Jessica Horst will collaborate with staff and students to develop proposals on:

    Academic Year structure

    The Future of Assessments

    Interdisciplinarity in our Curriculum

    Outline Business Case approved October.

    Collaboration through:

    - Working groups

    - Task and finish groups – Academic Year Structure, Assessments

    - School Meetings

    - Dedicated Senate briefing

    - Open meetings

    - Existing structures e.g. UEC, PAC, EAR]

    And this is where we are at the moment. 23/24 semester one activity.

    So we're really here focusing on the future of assessments. The other work we've been doing as I just said is the academic year structure and also interdisciplinarity, within our curriculum.

    We had our outline business case approved in October.

    [Slide 4 reads:

    Aims – explained below]

    What do we want to achieve as part of thinking about future assessments? We want to work to increase graduate outcomes. We want to increase the student experience. And we also want to increase the staff experience.

    At the same time, we want to continue, we've made really great progress in this area, but continue to be reducing the awarding gaps.

    Reducing the need for reasonable adjustments, they will still be there. We can't completely eliminate them.

    But we can do a lot of work to help reduce them. And we want to reduce academic misconduct.

    [Slide 5 reads:


    - Academic Year

    - Student Information System

    - E-Assessment platform]

    There are, of course, lots of interdependencies with respect to assessments. The structure of our academic year, the timings of our assessments, is an interdependency and Jessica, I know today will be happy to answer any questions about that and we have that dedicated meeting. As well to talk more about it.

    The raw data we hold on students, the course information, the assessments that's part of the student information system.

    And so that's an interdependency. Also, the platform that we deliver our assessments through.

    There was money sort of as part of projects, in future projects decided about, do we need any is a dedicated e-assessment platform, and that's still very much in the future.

    And I see this work that we're doing now with respect to the future of assessments to be starting to build that into there.

    So we can go into that knowledge of what type of e-assessment platform and what type of functionality do we already have?

    What do we need that's different based on our academic and professional services decisions about what the future of assessments will be.

    [Slide 6 reads:

    Future of Assessment work model – explained below]

    How to tackle the future of assessments is not an easy job because everyone has something to say about assessments and we want to make sure that we are listening and bringing as much of that wealth and experience of everyone into that.

    As part of the curriculum and assessment work stream, we've had a task and finish group one meeting, which I'll report on in a minute about the scope of what's actually in and out of scope.

    We decided to undertake a survey to help us and I can report today on the findings of that survey.

    We then had a dedicated meeting to understand more about inclusive assessments and how we can bring that in as part of curriculum re-imagined.

    And I'm also going to feedback on that. We've had our survey delivery, we have this open meeting today.

    The next bit is going forward. I'll talk about, a little bit later on.

    [Slide 7:

    Assessment scope

    In scope:

    Principles of assessment






    In-year retrieval




    Resit modes

    Reasonable Adjustments

    Out of scope:


    Digital Skills

    Wholesale return to in-person exams

    BAU via EAR

    Non-credit bearing modules]

    So in our meeting where we're focusing on what things are in scope and what things are out of scope for assessments.

    It's probably easier to do this column over here, which is the out of scope ones.

    They're the things that actually are either part of business as usual or will come as a separate project piece after Curriculum Reimagined.

    Say, for example, the E-assessment platform, as we said, that's going to be informed by the work that we're doing.

    The digital skills side is going to be part of business as usual but also part of developing the new university strategy.

    There's an element of assessments that fall under Jessica's remit as chair of the exams and assessment regulations.

    Which can only go through that business as usual route.

    We can't really be thinking as part of Curriculum Reimagined non-credit bearing types of assessments.

    Where we're thinking about, we can be thinking about formative assessments and summative assessments,

    But not necessarily continuing professional development, or non-credit-bearing courses.

    Then, noticing that in the feedback from the survey and questions that we've received, we can't consider wholesale return to in-person examinations.

    We've seen some real benefits from reducing the awarding gaps.

    But we know and are listening that there are some issues and some problems that people would like us to take some time to think about.

    And we will be doing that as part of Curriculum Reimagined, but it can't be a wholesale change.

    So what's in scope? You can see. I'm really thinking about the principles, the choice, the weightings, accessibility.

    How you determine how much assessment is reasonable for a student on a module student on a course. How we can reduce that bunching.

    Safeguarding how can we ensure that the assessments are robust, we reduce academic misconduct and the influence of AI.

    Looking at in year retrieval, resit modes, the types of assessment made, feedback and reasonable adjustments.

    So there's a lot of things in scope and we're not possibly going to be able to do that, cover everything in the time we've got.

    Within the academic group the majority of individuals are involved in teaching or convening more than one module or a course overall and 11% are involved in the exam boards.

    [Slide 8 reads: ] Assessment Survey]

    Thought I'd start off with where I felt the real positives were.

    [Slide 9 reads: Currently as Sussex I feel Explained below]

    Assessments increasing in difficulty across the levels and year groups, 73% of you thought that the assessments currently did that.

    That doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement, but I think that stepwise approach, the split that exists within courses and modules is probably working really well.

    People felt that overall the assessments tested the learning outcomes.

    And while slightly lower, I think still a good score that the assessments are fair and valid.

    It would be helpful and I'd like to try and undertake this through some focus groups,

    to understand more about possibly the 30% that didn't feel that they weren't fair and valid

    and what that sort of unfairness or lack of validity was coming about as.

    I did wonder and suspect that maybe part of the AI involvement might be part of that.

    63% of you felt that assessments prepare students for further study and employment.

    So I can see we've got work to do.

    On this and I think this really comes part of looking at the assessment modes and authentic assessment.

    And that 61% of you felt that the assessments are inclusive. Again, more work we can do.

    [Slide 10 reads: However. Explained below]

    The ones that were really more, I guess, more interesting was the assessment mode meets the needs of the module was 57% and this we're going to talk about a little bit more about but also that only 30% of you felt that any choice of any type was offered to students.

    And choice we've really seen is tied into the inclusivity of assessments.

    [Slide 11: Modes of assessments – explained below]

    When we looked at the spread of these modes of assessment that are used within this institution, you can see it's quite a lot of them, I couldn't get all of some of the very smaller ones on one page.

    I do apologize for quite a busy slide, but you can see, an inverse pyramid from essays and dissertations, portfolios and presentations, reports, so very written large volume of work based

    [Slide 11: Missing modes – explained below]

    We asked, what things do you think we're missing? These were the things that were brought up and I've tried to kind of theme them for myself within different areas.

    And I think there's a real theme here around the digital need. Whether that's through podcasts, blogs, digital storytelling, gamification and film virtual reality, assessments using AI. And then there's a real theme around kind of more portfolio based types of things, whether that's field notes, and lab exercises, reflections there.

    [Slide 12: Biggest concern – a chart showing the areas of concern. Explained below]

    In understanding what the biggest concern was, probably not a surprise that the largest concern was in the use of AI in assessments.

    Followed by the marking of assessments and the type of assessments.

    I think these things really reflect where the sector is at wider. But also some of the challenges that we have very much at Sussex.

    The marking assessment boycott, the rise in AI.

    And as part of Curriculum Reimagined I'm going to be spending some more time analyzing these looking at the different free text components to ensure that we bring out a true understanding of this.

    [Slide 13 reads: Choice – explained below]

    Our session on inclusive assessment and really looked to understand what is meant by this. What are the principles for it.

    [Slide 14: Choice – explained below]

    And that might be part of the timings. So the ability for a student to choose when an assessment is taken.

    [Slide 14: Choice – explained below]

    And submitted. So an assessment could be taken within a deadline. A deadline happens for that work to be finished it's time stamped

    and actually then when they have the freedom to submit that piece, or when they can resubmit pieces, if they can resubmit pieces.

    A poster presentation or an oral presentation. Might potentially be assessing very similar skills.

    As well as the ability to demonstrate and understanding and grasp of the academic concept and discipline

    We looked at examples where content forms part of assessments.

    So, whether it be the deciding of an assessment topic, or within an exam situation choosing to answer a certain number of questions based on different topics.

    We thought a lot about where the environment where assessments take place, whether that's in the ability of students taking exams in an assessments hall.

    Using computers, using written in their own time, using proctored software solutions or free open book solutions.

    Also recognizing that choice can paralyze students, it can create uncertainty, it can create increased staff workload as well.

    So there is definitely a balance here and today would really like to draw on all of your knowledge and expertise to really help us think about that balance of what Sussex choice should be.

    So we'd like to take some time to ask you to focus on, 4 questions, that are on the padlet.

    And, I can put the link in the chatting, it's not already there. And if we can use the padlet, I'm going to stop sharing my screen.

    And I'd kindly like to ask you in your breakout groups to put your thoughts and ideas onto the padlet wall please.

    And then we'll bring that back to have a round up and to think to also to have a look at any crossover.


    Claire Smith: I always feel bad pulling people back out of breakout rooms because you know you're interrupting really good discussions and things.

    So I've been having a look at the at the padlet wall as has Jessica as well and I mean just to say what really fantastic thoughts and content are going into there we were probably thinking that there's maybe a little bit of them themes and divisions already happening.

    Jessica's kindly agreed to chat through some of those ones related timings and then I'm going to pick up those related to digital environments and environments overall. So, over to Jessica.

    Jessica Horst: Thanks, Claire. Yeah, I just wanted to pick up on, there's a comment about if we're keeping the usual resit timetable and sort of timing of boards.

    As we're reviewing the, academic year. And whether or not we want to, make changes to it, the timings of exam boards is a very, you know, real important part of that right it's not just the teaching weeks and we've been in particular doing some work, explicitly meeting with the colleagues involved in implementing the new student information system, which it will kind of feed the data that exam boards will need to have.

    And so, as part of that, we've sort of worked backwards from the start of term when students need like, you know, when students need to know if they're progressing or not.

    And we worked backwards from graduation to see when those boards need to be.

    And there is a bit of flexibility, not loads, but some shifting we might be able to do sort of a bit of a week or 2 here week or 2 there.

    Once we're a little bit further in the student information system implementation phase for that project, then we'll know a little bit more about how flexible we can be.

    I just, I guess, wanted to reassure everyone that that is definitely one of the conversations that we're having. Because exam boards is what makes some of this so pressurised.

    There was also a question about if timing is in terms of the academic year or how assessments are condensed into assessment periods.

    At the moment, a lot of how assessments take place in assessment periods, is largely driven by trying to avoid clashing or trying to reduce the number of times that students have multiple assessments on one day, the more optionality we have, the harder that is to sort of control but a future line of work in our three-year plan for curriculum re-imagined is to look at that streamlining of optionality, which will then also feed into that. But that is a very administrative kind of task how we set up the assessments in the assessment periods.

    However, going back to the other question of within the academic year.

    One of the things that we've talked about, in the academic year task and finish group is things like where we might insert consolidation periods, aka reading weeks, that might be an opportunity for some in year or if students have trailing a assessments we might be able to change when those take place.

    So additional comments about those kinds of things would be very helpful.

    As that sort of that space that if we had a Venn diagram kind of sits between is it assessments, is it academic year structure?

    And so I'm sure Claire and I both welcome any comments or questions you have on those kinds of issues.

    Claire Smith: Thank you, Jessica. That's really helpful.

    And I think leads in really nicely to where the discussion about the environment is, and really thinking about, academic integrity as part of that picking up on things about actually where to undertake an assessment, recognizing difficulties for some students. Do we have the right amount of quiet space on campus?

    Those types of things, what type of, platforms are we going to be needing.

    I was also really interested in the sort of the concept of digital platforms enabling that choice

    of assessment mode for students and how they can select that and how they might be able to how that would then follow them through their assessment journey.

    And yeah, so some really really challenging things there and it's just appeared, formative assessment really important.

    How do we build that all the way through?

    I think that's, I mean, there's lots on here that I want to take away and I want to have some time to really to think think about to tie it and cross check it with the results of the survey as well. So please do continue to add things to the padlet board as, we go

    over the next little while. And to go back to our presentation. I just have one more slide

    [Slide reads: Next steps – explained below]

    This is, really what are we going to do from here? Well, I'd really like to say said, take more time to analyze in detail the survey.

    I haven't really analyzed the free text comments. I'd like to tie them in to what I feel has been some really helpful theming of actually how we can deal with choice under these different areas,

    I'm kind of getting a sense of a bit of direction of travel.

    And then so would like to take that away to the task and finish group.

    Really want to be working with some student groups to then be sounding out possible proposals with regards to these different areas.

    Then as part of task and finish group writing those draft proposals and then sort of maybe January February time, then heading out to dedicated groups, course conveners, professional services.

    With exam board for example, to then be testing out what draft proposals we have.

    To then bring those back, those refined proposals back to an open meeting. In around the Easter time,

    heading for that May University executive committee meeting, where decisions will be made about this going forward.

    I wanted to make sure that we finished on time at quarter past. So we do have a couple of minutes.

    Is there any burning questions anyone would like to raise or ask?

    Jessica Horst: There's a question for you in the chat for Molly.

    Claire Smith: Okay.

    Final retrieval date. Yeah. I think so. There's 2 parts for that. It's about the timing of the academic year structure and when we then have our assessment timings running as part of that.

    And but also really thinking about, actually when the students get to do any retrieval, can we change how we're doing that to make it, improved for students.

    So, would there be opportunities for in-year retrieval, for example? Would there be, a different, mode for a retrieval, for example.

    Graham in about in level course level assessments too. Do you want to say a bit more?

    Graeme Pedlingham: Sure, yeah, yeah, slightly feels like a slightly radical idea I suppose, talking to other institutions

    It's just something to put out there, cause I think, obviously it raises a lot of questions, but.

    Might have a lot of advantages as well.

    And I've seen that use particularly with portfolios in other institutions as well, so I think some modes might suit it better than others and with MCQ as well actually.

    Okay, well to make sure we stick on time. Thank you so much. For your involvement and lots of great thoughts and we look forward to keeping you in, keeping these conversations going

    over the next 6 months. Thank you everyone. Have a good day.

  • Video transcript

    Professor Claire Smith: So, good morning, everyone. A very warm welcome to our fourth open meeting on the curriculum, reimagined and going to be sharing this meeting today with Jessica.

    Our project Manager Helen and Katy Piatt.

    Katie Piatt: You're on mute, Claire.

    Professor Claire Smith: Curriculum Reimagined meeting, delighted to say, going to be sharing the presenting with Jessica and and Katy Piatt from head of education, enhancement, and Helen, our project manager, as well.

    This is gonna be sort of last open meeting before we pause for a little bit.

    [Second presentation slide reads: Why? The Learn to Transform Strategy is both bold and ambitious. In order to fully realise the aims of the strategy, a root and branch review of the curriculum is required]

    So I thought it was helpful to go back. Go back to the beginning of when we, when we had our first open meeting in January, thinking about why we were undertaking curriculum reimagined, and as the slides says learn to transform has bold and ambitious ambitions to deliver our curriculum, and we haven't had a large-scale review of the curriculum at Sussex for a considerable number of years.

    As you know, lots has changed and not changed. As we are settling back from the pandemic with the outcome of the timetable review.

    We know we need to streamline. We know we need to make our curriculum less complex.

    And we need to be looking, not just standing still will only send us in one direction, which is backwards.

    So we need to be all looking very future facing of what we want.

    Our curriculum to look like in the future. Recognising that with various regulations and time to do the work, it's going to take time to do that.

    So our Curriculum Reimagined, has four principles that you can see there

    . [Third presentation slide reads: Principles To ensure Sussex’s educational offer is distinctive, expresses our core values, and reflects​

    our research strengths.​

    To enhance our approach to inclusivity and accessibility, including to ‘design-out’​

    Reasonable Adjustments and tackle Awarding Gaps.​

    To streamline the curriculum, and underpinning administrative processes, whilst preserving​ interdisciplinary choice and best pedagogical practice, including the use of digital​technology.​

    To ensure that our courses prepare students with the modern skills needed for work or​ further study so they can influence global challenges such as environmental sustainability,​ smart technology, and human flourishing​ ]

    The time between our January to now we've been really busy working with our different working groups and through the different open meetings as well, and our core stakeholder groups.

    [Fourth presentation slide displays a benefits map which is explained below]

    To really think about what is curriculum reimagined going to deliver. I know it's a very busy slide.

    Our principles to make our curriculum distinctive, inclusive, streamlined, and future proof. We've mapped into a series of sub projects the deliverables and you can see these group together.

    And these have then been matched onto the outcomes.

    And we've done this as well through having lots of lines joining different parts which you'll be able to see in in future documents. I didn't do today because it really looks like a like a jumble, because actually, what we're trying to do as part of curriculum reimagined. Everything is so integrated, and has so many co-dependency’s on different components.

    The outcomes will bring about benefits that we really want to see improvements in our student experience improvements in our staff experience and these map out into the key performance indicators for the institution.

    So just before I hand over to Helen to talk about our governance map.

    It's where we are with the project at the moment is about.

    We've got some big committees coming up that will be taking the different groups of the of the benefits.

    Map and the the sub project areas. So we have UEC coming up in May and then on to Senate in June

    I'm going to mute myself and hand over to Helen.

    [Fifth presentation slide displays a timeline diagram which is explained below]

    Helen Mc Aleer: Thanks, Claire, so I just wanted to give everyone a bit of an overview of where we are with. With this large project, that you will understand. So we're currently from the beginning of the year in scope phase.

    And this is, you can see where we are now, and as Claire's touched on, this is very much a lot of work has gone on with, with loads of colleagues across Professional Services and academics of consultation research and really trying to work out what the potential is and what we could deliver. So, as Claire said, we will be going to UEC, and then on to Senate.

    So there's a series of academic approvals coming up in in May and June.

    And that's a very important milestone to reach within the project, and then that once we've got through those, and we sort of know the direction of travel, and we're in agreement of what we want to deliver, then the outline business case, will follow and that will go through to the Capital Investment Board, and then, after sort of through the summer July to December, the next 6 months. That's another really crucial time where we really need to then get into the phase of thinking about how all these codependencies and and all these different sub projects can be delivered, how long they will take.

    You know what change that will mean for for everyone, and and how we can do that together as an organisation.

    So there'll be further development of the detail that we'll be planning around how we can implement these changes in phased way.

    We'll go back to UEC and Senate for further academic approvals of this detail.

    In the autumn, and then ending up the year with the final business case of of the detail of you know how we, how we will deliver that.

    Then from January onwards, it will be going into the implementation phase of the rollout.

    And really this becomes less detailed at this stage, because we are yet to know what has been approved and what's not so from January onwards, will be will be phasing the implementation.

    It won't all happen in one. Go, and we'll work out that detail, and I would imagine that we would really have a true understanding of that phased implementation this autumn and then into the handover phase of then the curriculum reimagined becomes slowly as it the different phases get handed over to, they just become the norm.

    And then the evaluation phase, I think, will probably, you know, is something that will take years in some sense of really trying to capture.

    Have we achieved what we wanted to do? In the first place, in terms of looking back and going okay.

    Well, we've actually done what we set out to do.

    In the first place, that's me at the moment.

    Thanks, Claire.

    Professor. Claire Smith: Thank you, Helen. That's really helpful. One of the things that this project has asked us to establish with regard to the governance route.

    [Sixth presentation slide displays a governance diagram which is explained below]

    We have a very, good and well established governance.

    A route for our education matters. We also have an established governance route for project management at the University and for some areas of project management for estates planning, for example, this doesn't involve a separate route.

    So we've actually had to work very closely to establish where the core decisions as part of curriculum reimagined are going to be made.

    If I go back slide, it's probably just worth highlighting.

    We've had as part of curriculum reimagined our 3 working groups, which they've all been contributing a massive amounts. So it's also very big. Thank you. To everyone who's contributed to those they've met 6, 7, 8 times done working between and feeding up to our curriculum reimagined steering group, and which is now met 3 or 4 times, and we wanted to make sure that steering group will feed into University Education Committee.

    This is the place for the academic decisions with regard to curriculum reimagined.

    We then have running kind of alongside it as part of the Project management group, and the various governments really for that.

    And I just wanted to use this opportunity to reassure people.

    The academic decisions are through UEC and onto Senate, the types of things that the project management route are going to allow us to do is the request for release of funds for X or Y that we need to do and to make sure that the whole project overall is on time and all the risks are managed as part of that.

    Both of the different groups, the education route and the project group all end up at council in a very much joined up way.

    Alright, Helen and Jessica! Have I forgotten to say anything?

    I think everything so far, for those elements was covered.

    Yeah. Alright.

    That's great. Just realising that it has been so busy that we have. There has been so much work I didn't want to miss anything I'm gonna hand over now to get her to update you on her workstream.

    Thanks. Jessica.

    [Seventh presentation slide title is Architecture & Structure Update)

    Slide reads:

    Working with students and staff in Educational Enhancement on Sussex Choice/Theming electives.

    Watch out for elective meetings this summer!

    Soon to continue work on reducing complexities of thecurriculum/timetable by reducing "cross-threading"

    Enrichment weeks still under consultation.• Smaller elements (e.g. reallowing some year-long modulesproposal) concluded.]

    The slide includes a QR code.

    Professor Jessica Horst: Okay. Thanks. Claire. Yeah. So I'm leading on the architecture and structure working group.

    And in many ways this working group is the organising, you know, group so we're trying to almost everything we're trying to do is streamlining, you know, streamlining a lot of the things that we do which ultimately, if you go back to that benefits mount that work will lead to enhanced student experience it will, I hope, lead to Sussex. Being a really nice place to work.

    Where we're not, you know, just not getting things done are not innovating, because you know the things are are, you know, so clogged.

    The work that both Claire and I are doing in our work streams will feed into that operations group that will really narrow down and hone.

    Oh, we actually need, you know, I don't know a new form, for you know, suggesting new courses.

    And you know that sort of fine grain stuff.

    But right now we're working on kind of the structure.

    So it's nice that the group is named architecture and structure, and some of the things that we've been up to are listed here on this slide.

    Right now we're working with the student change managers.

    Student connectors and staff with educational enhancement, to run some focus groups with students on the electives that we offer and the choice that we give them.

    Sasha and other members of the community are quite keen that we go back to our interdisciplinary routes and start theming our electives.

    For example, students might see, oh, look! Here's this package, and instead of being showcased, as all in one particular department, it's across, you know, multiple departments.

    Possibly even modules that are taught with colleagues across departments, but it fits a theme like sustainability or health and well-being, and so on.

    So we're doing some initial work with students on that now

    But then, later on in the summer we'll be hosting a sort of a electives festival where we're gonna be asking the staff members of the University community to come together with what the students have said that they that they have identified as potential themes or potential gaps have an opportunity for Staff to start discussing more with each other, where we might offer additional themes and choice, or where maybe different things could be combined right?

    If we have two electives that are trying to cover the same kind of topic.

    But they're taught in two different departments, perhaps bringing them together is a nice direction to go in.

    We're also continuing our work on reducing complexity in the curriculum which then leads to complexity in the timetable.

    So this is part of the work that I started being involved in last summer on reducing post 6pm teaching, which is a, you know, the hot topic for some members of our of our university community, and I think rightly so, both for students and staff and the university.

    Recently conducted a timetable review, and if you want to read that you should be able to get to that document on Sussex direct, going to searches committees.

    University education Committee, and then it should be listed in the February Committee papers just the same way that you can read papers that go to Senate.

    But here I have the QR code from our Curriculum Reimagined page.

    But it has the video from our second open meeting, and in that meeting I explained in a bit more plain English than our current academic framework, what are our different multiple types?

    You know, how do they interact? What is the what is the problem here?

    How is this elective tube meant to work? I'm hoping to refer to that differently going forward for variety of reasons, but I strongly encourage especially academic staff, who work in in within the schools and have something to do with like teaching allocation or knowing which modules are running, or, you know, admissions head school detail, DoSE. I strongly encourage you to watch that, so that you understand that the differences there that are already in our framework, and then over the summer we're gonna start trying to organize that a little bit better because we need to and if you want to read the rationale of why, that's laid out in that timetable review with the recommendations that we do things like, stop what's called cross threading.

    We spoke about enrichment, weeks that are last open meeting, and this is something that's still under consultation.

    There's a lot of strong opinions on including enrichment weeks.

    I do want to note if we are to include enrichment weeks beyond the inter session week that we have now.

    Or maybe we even move the inter session week that we have now.

    Or maybe we even move the intersession week that we have now.

    These would be in addition to the 11 weeks of term. We do not have a lot of time that's you know, the structured teaching weeks of the year, and Denise can't make it to this meeting today.

    But if she were, I imagine she would want to pipe up with how, as an educational provider, we're really low on the amount of of like teaching weeks that we offer to our students.

    So I don't want anyone to worry that. Oh, this means it's really going to be 10 week semester. It.

    No, but it won't go down to 10, and then some smaller items that we've been working on that should be sort of straightforward, you know, relatively quick, like allowing some departments not not forcing on people, but allowing some departments who want to have year-long modules back again, to do that. That isn't approved yet.

    That's gonna go to University Education Committee. But we've nearly wrapped up our work on that.

    So that's sort of what we've been up to.

    And I really look forward to working with everyone more on that disentangling the cross threading and also going forward, rethinking how to sort of, you know, re-energize, or, I guess, re-imagine our elective offer.

    And now I'll hand back to Claire.

    [Eighth presentation slide Title is Curriculum & Assessment update

    Slide reads: Sussex Curriculum Framework
    •Defining Blended Learning
    • Credentials
    • Programme Specifications]

    Professor Claire Smith: Thank you, Jessica, and I think it's probably helpful to say there are so many things in all of the different sub projects that we had to really work out what things do we need to do?

    First as part of this. And Jessica, architecture and structure working group have been fantastic, and that will, sorting through what things need to happen.

    First, and which is why focusing on the electives and reducing the complexities with regard to enrichment weeks, I wanted to do it at the chat as well.

    What will that mean? We're really looking in terms of timeframe for further discussions about enrichment weeks and and and the academic year structure I don't want to say too much about it, is Denise's Denise, this area will come to a future UEC meeting. And so it's not one that we're. There's no decisions that will be made in the next couple of months.

    With regards to that, and we would be looking very much just couldn't we?

    Have having a range of options on the table for discussions with within the academic community, and wouldn't help you.

    Just for those couple of questions in the chat.

    What would you like to, Alison's asking?

    Professor Jessica Horst: Yeah, I, yeah. I've answered it in the chat.

    We haven't ruled out, increasing the number of weeks per term.

    But there's some hesitation in different areas.


    I mean, you know I'm only one member of the university community, right?

    But my sense is that that it would be very challenging for UEC, and then send it to approve.

    12 week semester, like 12 actual teaching weeks, with the thirteenth week of enrichment.

    But it might happen also I forgot to mention, and I mean I had 16 weeks as a student.

    So I'll stop my own personal views on how long the semesters I did forget to mention the timeline of this is designed so that we're going to start talking about electives and start talking about how modules need to potentially maybe change a little bit over the summer in order to give schools time to prepare things for the November School Education Committee meetings.

    So that's kind of that part of that timeline that Helen reviewed.

    Okay, yeah, maybe what we'll end up doing as well as having additional meetings about 12 week semesters as we discuss where, if anywhere, to insert enrichment weeks.

    Okay. Thanks. Again. Claire.

    Professor Claire Smith: Thank you. I can also see some discussions in the chat from from Wendy, Wendy and myself were at the Association for National Teaching for those Conference earlier on in the week, and I think also we need to really be thinking about the wellbeing of students in this and building, in what time for learning means to students is very different. Across different student groups, and how we can build in opportunities for students and staff that will be a benefit to their well-being and via for learning rather than and maybe trying to go on a really sort of short-push everything together.

    And okay, thank you. In that case I can move on.

    So I know. Get to talk about our curriculum and assessment working group.

    And one of the things that's when we started discussing, actually, what are we going to do as a working group which parts what we're going to be looking at and the discussions quite quickly turned to, what, actually, how are we going to be making decisions, we have a we have a large transform strategy we have a whole series of academic rules and regulations and policies that exist alongside.

    And so we started really thinking about what, how we're going to operate, that, how would that was all going to work.

    [Ninth presentation slide title reads Sussex Curriculum Framework, with a diagram that explains how this sits within university policy explained below]

    And we we decided that we felt we needed to implement and introduce a Sussex curriculum framework, which is one of the things I'd like to talk about in a minute.

    The other areas we were looking at were actually well, what does what blended learning at Sussex mean, having had lots of discussions with student unions about hybrid hybrid learning and working working on that.

    So Katie's going to kindly talk in a minute for us about the group's work on that we were also talking and listening to students on how over the course of their study.

    Can they? Can they then demonstrate to future employees of future study areas what they, what they, what they do studied as part of their degree, that the transcript side, the learning outcomes side, but also the different components, that they've undertaken as part of skill set whether it's been presenting writing written reports, various various other parts of that understanding. AI.

    For example. And so there is possibly a separate project area looking at credentials throughout a student's journey, and how we can do that.

    Trying to improve streamlining efficiency, also Amanda and Oliver have been looking at how we could use program enhanced program specifications within our frameworks and to ensure that we have the right amount of information on on degree programs course, level and module level, how we can help track progress through intensive learning outcomes, how we can separate out and learning outcomes from knowledge and skills. So this sub project work area belonged to that.

    Katie, is it easier to hand over to you now to talk about blended learning before I talk about the framework?

    [Tenth presentation slide title reads Blended Learning Definition

    Slide reads:

    Blended learning is teaching and learning that combines in-person
    delivery and delivery in a digital environment.
    • Hybrid learning is teaching and learning activities which involve two
    modalities at the same time. For example, when a lecture is delivered
    live in a room on campus and simultaneously live-streamed for students
    Sussex will explicitly state they will deliver Blended Learning for
    September 23 onwards, where it makes sense to do so.]

    Katie Piatt: Perfect. Yes. Can I screen, share you?

    Professor Claire Smith: Yes, I will stop screen sharing.

    Katie Piatt: Thank you. Hi! Everybody! I'm Katie. I'm head up the educational enhancement team and I'm chairing the blended learning task and finished group.

    As Claire said, and the role of this group was to define our blended learning offer here at Sussex, which currently is not something we actually say we do and we've been looking at this from the perspective of what the can we do.

    Now, what can we do for September, as well as the longer term picture?

    So to save you all a bunch of typing, and I'll share these afterwards.

    I've just put what we've come up with, and what we've agreed so far into a few Powerpoint slides this doesn't sound like rocket science to tell you that blended learning is teaching and learning that combines in-person delivery and delivering a digital environment. Honestly, it's not rocket science, but it was really important to PIN this down quite early, because, as Claire mentioned, there's been a lot of talk here about hybrid delivery blended delivery.

    What that actually means. And after some soul searching and convoluted discussions, the the group which contains faculty reps Professional Services reps, and student reps came up with the fact that we agree with the OS definitions, which is what you see in front of you.

    There so this is the way the OFS distinguished between blended and hybrid.

    The difference primarily being that hybrid is simultaneous, online and in person, whereas blended is separate things, there's some in-person stuff, some things delivered digitally.

    Everybody was comfortable with these, and it matches what the OFS said.

    So, whatever you think, if we, this is what we now mean at Sussex and in in the sector as a whole, when we say blended and our proposal is that Sussex will explicitly state we do blended learning here, though for September 23 onwards, where it makes sense to do so. We do blended the caveat is to cover various things, such as our online distance learning courses, for example, that are obviously fully online and don't have in person elements.

    I can't see the chat at the moment, but I'll have a look later, and see and see what you're thinking.

    Okay, so that was the first thing we pinned down as a group is, what exactly do we mean by blended?

    We mean some stuffs in person, some stuff stuff digital and that's what we do here.

    What we then went on to look at is some particular aspects of that.

    So we spent some time looking at our polls on recording teaching also known as the lecture Capture policy.

    [Eleventh presentation slide title reads Blended Learning Recorded

    Slide reads: We will stick with our existing Recording of Teaching policy for Sept 23, noting some changes we propose in due course and recognising the limitations ie working with the tech and network we have at present.• We agree students should be provided an alternate way to meet learning objectives if they miss a session that has not been recorded (eg due to illness).Ask “What is that person not getting and how can I provide it in a different way?” Balanced with expectation on students to attend and not adding staff workload.• Accessibility considerations will require different ways of doing things in the classroom and online.]

    But it's actually much broader than that. It's about recording teaching.

    And we've agreed to a group that due to other constraints, we were run with the existing policy for the coming academic year.

    But we have noted some changes. We'd like to make in the future.

    At the moment because of the technology we have the network we have.

    It makes sense to stick with what we've got, but we do recognize we would like to broaden the scope and add some freedoms in there and look at things other than Panopto.

    Remove Panopto, for example, as the only way of doing this, the big bit on this one is that middle bullet point is that if a student misses a lecture and in-person session, of whatever kind you for example, to illness or a myriad of other reasons why they might need to miss, a session that this should be an alternate way for them to meet their learning objectives. This would be the lecture recording. But where that isn't possible, we recognise some responsibility to ensure those students have a way of getting the stuff that they missed.

    So we've said, ask yourself, what is that person not getting?

    And how can I provide it in a different way? We had obviously discussion there on the expectations on our students, they're supposed to show up and we don't want to increase staff workload.

    But what is that we can do to make sure that if a student misses something through whatever reason it isn't recorded, what is there that we can do to help them?

    Make sure they can still meet their learning. Objectives. So that's an ongoing one.

    That middle bullet point, and we'll welcome some feedback on that.

    The other note there is that accessibility. Considerations mean that the way we do things online and the way we do things in person may well be quite different so it's not just a matter of doing what you would normally do but doing it online okay, so that's recording then the third thing we looked at was our tool set for delivering blended learning because we recognized we can't say off you will go and deliver blended learning. If we haven't given you the tools with which to do that.

    [Twelfth presentation slide title reads Blended Learning: Tools

    Slide Reads

    Work is needed to identify the tools required to deliver Blended Learning at scale including looking at the
    types of platform we need and any gaps.
    • It was agreed there are Core/Essential tools required of all staff, regardless of how teaching is delivered:
    currently Canvas, Turnitin, Panopto and Sussex Direct
    • There are also supported Enhancement Tools such as PollEverywhere and Padlet, which are optional.
    • Recommended tools which may not be licensed and fully supported but are assessed for use.
    It was noted we need more than just 2 or 3 tools in order to innovate and have the ability to engage
    students, a plan for evaluating and adding tools to our toolset is being developed.
    It was agreed we need a focus on staff getting the basics right balanced with pushing forward innovation.

    So the piece of work we're doing and it's ongoing is looking at all the tools, all the bits of software we have.]

    What supports available for them, and what gaps there are.

    For example, we don't have a good solution at the moment across the university free portfolios.

    Is that a gap? Is that something we need to go and explore?

    But we've agreed the following structure, as we look at our tools, language still to be determined.

    But we talked about the core or essential tools that all staff need to use regardless of how you deliver your teaching, which is canvas, turn it in Panopto and Sussex direct. That's our core tool set at the moment.

    We also invented the phrase, enhancement tools, which are things that you don't have to use, but they're there for you to enhance your teaching, add interactivity, etc.

    And then again, this is still to be determined, but there are many, many tools out there in the world I know there's Cahoot lovers in the audience.

    These things can be recommended, they're not licensed by the University at present, and there isn't full support for them.

    But they're still recommended as a great way of adding engagement in your teaching.

    So that's sort of where the discussion is. At the moment we recognize it's not enough to just say what you've got.

    Pollever and padlet, off you go, deliver engaging, teaching.

    We need to have the ability to add tools in to evaluate stuff, to bring it through a sort of a pipeline to get a really rich tool set for you, to work with.

    So we're working on that as a thing in action of how that can be funded and supported, etc.

    And we also recognize that we will promise not to get distracted by the enhancement stuff getting the basics right on these big core tools is the priority.

    First check. Everybody's okay with those.

    [Thirteenth presentation slide title reads Blended Learning: Next Steps

    Slide Reads

    The group are in the process of reviewing the current
    Digital Learning Principles which will form the new
    Blended Learning principles for staff:
    The group will meet again in Mid-May to discuss
    Digital Skills for staff and student and finalise these
    Feedback welcomed!]

    And then finally next steps on this you might be familiar with the current digital learning.

    Principles, page and somebody could stick that link in the chat for me.

    That would be great. This is what we're currently reviewing.

    The with the intention that it will be rehashed and reframed as a set of our blended learning principles, along with what you should use and why and then the how linking to the existing educational enhancement resources and all of that will tie up with our next meeting where we're looking at digital skills is the support there for both staff and students to have the digital skills to make the best use of all of these things.

    So that's what we've agreed so far.

    They're currently obviously our draft recommendations. And we welcome feedback. I'm gonna stop sharing and see what's happened in the chat.

    Professor Jesscia Horst: There were some questions about recording seminars, and I think that those are largely answered.

    Except for Hans question about in GDPR. For recording seminars, and when students are the one, you know, doing more of the speaking, and then Ben and Allison's longer questions towards the end I don't think have been answered yet.

    Katie Piatt:  Oh, well, the GDPR question you absolutely right Hans. And that's what our policy currently says.

    If there's primarily student speaking, it's an interactive seminar.

    You're not expected to record it. That's exempt and they're the ones where that second bullet point I talked about comes in.

    If the good reasons it's not recorded and that is a good reason, but a student misses it.

    Is there something we can do, something we already have that we could upload to canvas or something we could do with making loads of extra work to allow that student to catch up a bit, and that's the difficult thing to think through.

    Sorry, which was the other one. Alison's. Was it?

    Yeah, if you scroll down to the bottom of the chat and work your way up.

    Allison has a longer one, and Ben, right before that one.


    Thanks. I'll go and just reading. Thank you.

    Professor Claire Smith: Katie, how about if shall I talk about the framework and give you a little few seconds to read, to read things, and then we'll catch up in a minute.

    Katie Piatt: That's probably more helpful. It brings things in really nicely so it's part of the Sussex Curriculum framework.

    Final slide title reads; Next Steps

    Slide reads:
    University Education Committee
    • University Executive Group
    • Senate
    • Time to undertake work and next Open
    Meeting Sept
    • Website is Live-

    Professor Claire Smith: We will. The work of Katie's. Katie's working group will be very much as part of that.

    So I'm going to move. If you've got if the QR code. Our Sussex curriculum framework is an open document.

    I think you can see it's on version 43 or something like that.

    At the moment, if for any reason, the the options to add in comments or edited isn't there for you, please still, just send in comments, or let haven't I myself know this is very much still an open document, and will be for the next kind of 10 days before I then need to sort of put it down offline and get it ready for University Education Committee.

    I've left comments on there that we've made that Sasha's made because it it is very much, very much that working document with it needs to be owned by by the whole community.

    I'm going to share my screen again now. Second.

    I thought it would be helpful to start with to really say where the Sussex curriculum framework and we've had many discussions about what it's going to be called teaching and learning, curricula then curriculum principles,

    Sussex curriculum framework, and how it interlinks with the other components.

    So if you can see the why, what we're doing to to provide a high quality, learning, experience and different components of that part of learn to transform the Sussex curriculum framework will will say our approach to that.

    So it's going to say, actually, well, what are the things that we have as part of our curriculum?

    And what things matter to us within our curriculum, inclusivity, sustainability, for example, it will say what our approach is from blended learning, and it will provide some really basic information, such as our module, our module structure, how many credits what they the mechanism is that just because working group, you know, the elective themes, how are, how our courses are structured. And and so it will point out lots of detail that already exists within the academic framework, within the academic regulations.

    And a lot of policies. So it will be that one place for that information, pointing out to things.

    So, therefore, in the draft framework as it is at the moment, and it will stay in this way.

    And so it's been through the various committees it's color coded. So any areas that are new or are new directions or traveling changes that are being made as part of a curriculum reimagined is highlighted, I think, in orange and anything that is anything that is existing policies that we're not trying to change is just there in text, as it is.

    And this is important because we didn't want it to be opening up everything back on the table for things.

    It was about what things is this curriculum framework going to look at. Okay, then, the things that you can see within the document we're looking at, making sure we have themes within our curriculum.

    The Vice Chancellor, and all of us are very keen on ensuring that we have themes that reflect inclusivity.

    Teams that reflects sustainability and themes that reflect a transformational experience for students that includes human flourishing.

    It includes students being able to follow our internationalisation at home.

    It includes all of the amazing work on employability skills.

    That's very much kind of foregrounded within there, our curriculum themes.

    I'm just gonna have a quick look at the chat.

    Probably still comments related to your area. Katie, Say, create and framework please do circulate the link.

    Please do pass it on individuals, and please say, add comments in and get get in touch.

    It is a document that we are hoping will be approved through. University Education Committee in May and on to Senate in June.

    Therefore, for implementation. In September.


    Katie Piatt: I've just made the worst typo.

    Please forgive my terrible typo. I meant to share the recording teaching activities, policy and I typed the word reducing teaching activities, policy, it should say, recording apologies to pick back up on some of the points you said.

    There's that interesting point about assessing engagement.

    If it isn't in-person teaching. So if it isn't in-person teaching, so I just want to rewind and be really clear primarily at Sussex.

    Our teaching is in person. We're being really clear about that.

    There are things we do online. We know we do online assessments.

    We have canvass. We have discussion boards, but primarily it's in person, and one of you, I think, is Wendy has talked in the chat about the importance of in-class discussion, and the richness of that absolutely.

    We are not trying to take away any of that, and we recognise that engagement and attendance in person is absolutely what we're asking our students to do.

    The digital just adds to it. That's the blend of where it can be supportive, where it can be additional where it can provide other tools that you can use.

    So the the questions that were coming up in the chat were at.

    Do we expect you to provide additional contact students? If a student chooses not to attend, this is quite different from the ones who, for whatever reason, can't attend, they choose not to show up.

    Do we also have to provide more work for them, and the aim is no.

    The aim is. No, we're not trying to make more work here.

    One of you. I think it was Allison I was talking about how where you've got workshops that aren't recorded.

    You provide a one-page guide with some links in it.

    So there's something for them. I don't know if you want to say something about that, Alison, because hopefully, that's not more work.

    Allison Chisholm: No, I'm happy to say something. how ELS works is that we all write workshops that all ELS team can use

    So it's not quite the same as running your own lecture series, which I fully understand.

    But when we write a workshop we condense it into a one pager, and sometimes with a few activities, sometimes not, sometimes with links.

    But it is different, because for us it's it's skills.

    Whereas it's not, it's more difficult if you've got abstract concepts or something.

    But there is something that students can go to, and we keep it short.

    So it's not an enormous amount of additional reading for the student group, but we just highlights it.

    But that's all. On the canvas site. So that's how we workaround, and students can't get to our workshops. And also because students say they want us to record them.

    But we don't, for the reason that they're very student, led.


    But it just gives somebody something to take away.

    Katie Piatt: Thank you. Allison, and Wendy's, Wendy's actually on this group.

    So we've had some of this discussion. It's a really good point, is you can't tell you can't distinguish students who choose not to attend in students who are ill and who might say, Well, you're going to do an alternative.

    So I'll just wait for that. We need to go back to the drawing board.

    I think on that because we're not trying to add workload here.

    We just want to make sure that we're not disadvantaging students who are ill.

    So something we need to look at there. It's a challenging one.

    The only other question I wanted to pick up on at the moment was, Vicky had asked about alternative digital activities.

    And yeah, absolutely. We'd we'd love to be doing richer, more interactive things.

    This is all going to get wrapped up when we talk about the digital skills and how we can help develop and support staff to have the confidence to go further and do more and have that richer tool set.

    So that's the one that quite a lot of us get quite excited about.

    But we're just trying to get that baseline first for everyone.

    Thank you.

    Professor Claire Smith: Thank you. Katie, and thank you for much really helpful discussion.

    One of the other points in the chat I picked up on was about assessments, and the their inclusive nature, and one of the sub project areas on that benefits matter.

    I know I can show it to you, but it'll be. It'll be on the website and out of Powerpoint. So you'll be able to copy and copy and share it in as you need to enhance that if you need to lower.

    Is about reassessing the assessments that we have for the offer at Sussex.

    And Sarah and myself started work looking at this, looking at what the other institutions offer, we started putting together the idea of creating a survey that would go out across our institution to really to really ask people what are the assessments they using and what would they like to see because we know, and naturally I would do the same as a teacher.

    You fit what you kind of want into something to make it quite work, which means it probably doesn't make me do what it says on the tin type of thing, and that idea is very much still there.

    And that's a piece of work that will probably start really, as we head into head into the autumn, because of the areas of work we need to do to begin with the one area of work that I haven't mentioned that I just would like to do before we close is a piece of work about the information that we provide out in our prospectus, we provide an awful lot of detail in our perspective down to the types of assessment with we're going to use.

    And this is creating a rod for our own backing.

    In some ways, and it's not as simple as let's just stop doing that, because it's about how the systems are gathering that information.

    So we have been working with different teams that are involved in producing the perspective and the systems behind it, working with our colleagues in the legal governance teams with regard to what information we're required to do with the CMA.

    And so we have a. We have our first workshop in the next couple of weeks.

    Where all different individuals that are involved in this, because they're from different different areas of the institution, and different teams are going to be coming together to start to really unpick how we can go about reducing and simplifying the level of detail that we offer in our perspective that I have to say all the teams have been really fantastic about this. There is a real energy to actually to do this.

    But it is complex, it is untangling and I think this is one of the things that we need to do quite early on.

    And we imagine, because it's going to enable some of the changes we want to.

    See, we've all agreeing we want to see happen, because otherwise we're going to be in this very frustrating place, where it'd be like, yes, great just could go and do X and Y

    To your particular modules. Please do this because the framework says, say, and we will agree.

    This is what we want to see. But actually you can't do it for three years time, because the way that the mechanism of actually what we put on the perspective say, we we want to change that to make part of the future peer proofing side if quickly reimagined to make sure that our curriculum that we're making is adaptable, and changes can be made in a much more easier way.

    So I'm hoping that everyone is going to be.

    I think everyone's in support of this happening it's it's just actually the mechanisms.

    How we're going to do it, and I think now I'm just going to go back for one very quick slide on what our next steps are.

    So next steps we have we have our next curriculum reimagined steering group in a couple of weeks time.

    This will be looking at the various work packages and under those areas of distinctive and inclusive at future-proofed and streamlined curriculum, as part of the benefits map and the individual details of those and once they've been approved through steering group they'll be going on to an update to the University Executive group before going to University Education Committee on the seventeenth of May we are having a special UEC to discuss curriculum reimagined on that day.

    Then they will go on. They'll go back to the University Executive group in their full detail, and before going on to Senate we then all need to take a pause.

    It's a time when I know many of you are already heavily involved in, and a term last week teaching time into assessments.

    So we then need to do some work to actually do the work that's been hopefully approved, or any areas that have been and needs change.

    So, then over the summer, just because we would be expecting to have a festival to look at elective things, and then we'll come back with a next open meeting in September.

    In the meantime, the website, is live. I'm going to make sure that following this meeting, the recording from today will also be up there, and together with a timeline that haven't shared our benefits map.

    And so we'll have. We'll have an update.

    And I think now that's everything.

    We're going to stay on, and we can answer any questions.

    Thank you very much.

    Stop sharing.


    Alison Chisolm:  I have a oh, I have a quick one with all of this, as you'll see.

    Professor Claire Smith: Yes, please. Jump in.

    Allison Chisolm: I've got a lot of things I'm always talking about, but I think what this is.

    What you're doing is great, and I think, as you say, it's quite long overdue.

    But and I know this is probably further down the line. But how?

    Will these changes in the need for these changes be passed on to the staff?

    Who need to implement them, not the Professional Services, the academic stuff.

    The reason I I'm saying this is that this academic year I've seen assessment proofs given to students which still send them to S3 which was the precursor to the skills hub, and nobody is checking these assessments.

    Nobody's checking what's been given out. There's still assessments going out with the wrong reference to word counts, but nobody checks them so and I've been here a very long time, and I just we've been here before on wanted to improve changes they've been agreed but they're not implemented. There are still schools, I think, only one school now who doesn't name a referencing system, and it would suggest it was sent out that all schools had to name one, even if they were more flexible about what students did but one school still refuses to so any change in these changes do look fantastic, but they'll only work if they're enforced, and I just don't see how that's going to happen.

    Professor Claire Smith:  Thank you, Alison I completely agree to move to the direction of travel that we need to.

    The things we've been talking about need to be implemented, and I think it's probably the answer to how we're going to do that is multi factorial.

    I think it's we all own collectively a responsibility to to be ensuring that we're doing what are what our institution is requiring us to do.

    So where they are part of policies or rules and regulations, there is, it would be completely reasonable and appropriate, for whether that's the module convenor or the course convenor or the director of teaching and learning to place a requirement on that having already improved are in pre-program specifications will also help that with it.

    With regard to changes that we'd like to see that top of the suggested approach direction of travel, and we would be expecting mechanisms.

    We haven't defined exactly how what the forms will look like, but there will be a mechanism that will infiltrate portfolio approvals committee as an oversight, but also with school education committees having a degree of flexibility, to be able to make module changes that are coming out of Curriculum Reimagined, and it's part of the work of Katie's team education and enhancement.

    So where we need to be working with colleagues to to enhance their teaching areas, the gentle, nudging kind of side of things, and as well, I think we need to be.

    We have examples of showcasing best practice. For example, in our education festival, which is coming up soon as well.

    So probably a mix. But it I think we all want.

    Yeah, without naming. You know individuals here or areas here.

    Please do feel free. Anyone to drop us a message at any time.

    If there is something that you're aware of that isn't happening. But actually, it's a requirement to happen. Jessica got her hand up

    Professor Jessica Horst: Yeah, yeah, I wanted to come in on that point, too.

    Yeah, I completely agree. Allison, like, I see so much of what I'm doing right now.

    That wouldn't have needed to be done if things had been if we had had monitoring in place right?

    So as a like a real example. Right? We get told that a bunch of our incoming year, one students come.

    They're given this giant list of electives. They, you know, and that's been overwhelming.

    And then they like narrow it down to the few that they want to take, and they're full, because the year 2 students have used up all the places right and and going forward what you know as part of that cross-threading on doing that right if we have level 4 and level 5 we can have a mechanism, where over the summer we say, Oh, quick! Let's check do we actually have enough seats

    Is there enough room, right, you know, in those electives? But we do need to start implementing this stuff.

    I don't know if Wendy Graham is still on the call, but I know, like her module just it's like they pay no attention to how big the room is.

    Right. It's you know. It's way more popular than the room she gets assigned.

    And so there's just different checks that that just aren't happening.

    And if you, I hope, Wendy, that I described that properly, if you I think of these things that are like, you know, this is kind of broken, or this isn't working like Claire, said.

    Let us know, like now is a great time to say, oh, you know what?

    Yeah, when we update, say, the reading list policy, right? Let's go back to that school and say, Come on now, like you know, at least give us like, maybe a couple referencing systems, or whatever the the thing is in in your circle that's kind of broken.

    And then also, there was another point that I so telling us things things aren't being checked.

    But also, yeah, with that, you know, like, the idea is that now we'll go through, we'll do these initial approvals, and then we'll we'll fine tune.

    What schools are gonna need to do. And Vicky put something.

    I think it was Vicky in the chat about like some school meetings like Board of Study School Education Committee.

    Those would be great places to check some of these things, but unfortunately there are a few things that are so central, right?

    Like, yeah, is there enough room on the electives for the student population that each school can't do their own part of the puzzle because they they only get the admissions info from like for their school?

    So it starts to get really complicated and lots of degrees of freedom.

    But we're trying. And yeah, concrete examples of this could be better.

    That could be better. This is the loophole that actually works for this become the real policy. Now is a great time to suggest those things.

    Alison Chisolm:  I think one of the things that I would like to see, and I used to do for years.

    About 15 years I worked on academic misconduct, and I gave up because change didn't happen.

    Really, and it one of the things was students would come.

    And yes, there was misconduct, or there was, but sometimes I actually threw cases out because the instructions students have been given was so poor. The letter going to the department saying, this needs to be reviewed would have outlined by, but nothing changed.

    Then you'd have the same assessment or similar format the next year, I'm not talking about anything very Draconian.

    I just think that if a tutor or course convener is repeatedly writing poor quality assessments, they need to be trained just, you know.

    It just needs to be picked up and actually actions, because very often I have highlighted these things.

    And in my role. Now, when I see something, which is incomprehensible, we sometimes see assessments.

    The students come to us. We read, them, and we don't make any sense to them either, and it's not that they're in physics or something else, and I will send those back to the Dtl.

    But nothing happens.

    So there isn't this sort of we just need to ensure that not in a punitive way.

    But if students have a problem, they can say, I don't understand this assessment, and I don't think it's fair.

    The other thing I see, which is a really big bug of mine

    If you take, for example, maybe a first-year first term students across the university, and they may be have to write an essay.

    One school will give them the title will give them a sample outline.

    The other schools. Just give them a title. How is that fair?

    Professor Claire Smith:  And that's not Alison. That's the type of it's making sure that students haven't equal experience.

    And that's the that is exactly the type of work that we'll be looking at as part of the assessment reading the assessments because we're going.

    We will have to have a matrix system that equates whatever percentage of time or whatever things into that. Ben.

    Ben Fincham: Hi, there, yeah. Funny enough. It's related to that point about electives.

    And I was wondering. So in 2 places I'm hearing different things about the ways in which interdisciplinarity is going to be encouraged in whatever curriculum we end up with, because the discussions in Senate have been very much oriented in my view towards simplifying and streamlining in a way which made me anxious that the kind of principles of interdisciplinarity which are a strength that you know it's still, even though it's a bit of a ghost of a strength.

    It's still there at Sussex. I'm wondering how this is.

    The discussions that you're having here boiled down at a course or module level.

    So how are electives going to be selected? I'm sure you've had these discussions, but I'd just be interested.

    How are they going to be selected? And how are they going to work in terms of these kind of disciplinary streams that Sasha was talking about?

    I couldn't. I couldn't see how they would fit within the ways in which we're delivering courses and modules in the schools as they are I know there's this whole faculties discussion, but we're also given assurances that nothing will change on the ground with that so again, there's a lot of mixed messages coming from different places in my head.

    Professor Claire Smith: Thank you, Ben. I'm gonna ask Jessica, yeah.

    Professor Jessica Horst: Thanks. Yeah, thanks for raising that. I encourage you to go back to that curriculum imagined site.

    Sam put the link in the chat of how to get there from the staff pages and look at that recording of what electives ought to be like at the moment the big problem is that we have a lot of modules that we're claiming are electives.

    But they're actually like for these students, or an option for students on this and this course.

    And oh, yeah, by the way, students can take this as an elective, and that leads to large clashes and big problems in where we're offering things.

    And that basically is one of the main reasons why we teach pass 6 pm.

    But at the same time, when you've then looked at the student, comments on those modules right?

    They're very, they're very unhappy. The students who are who are there to really get into the deeper topic, and the students who are there to just get like a bit of an overview cause they're kind of interested.

    They're neither are getting what they're wanting to get out of it.

    I mean, some students will, but you know we get complaints from both ends, and so the idea is to go back to what we ought to have had, which is really having a dedicated space for electives having them instead of packaged to students as oh, you can do electives in don't know chemistry, or media, or you know something else to have them more.

    Have the themes that we give them, be interdisciplinary.

    So oh, look! Here's you know, sustainability, and you can learn about, you know to me sustainability from media.

    You can learn about changing people's views from psychology, and you know, and you know, have, like a theme where you can go across module if possible.

    We want to get to that point where we can, even within a module, have call, you know, multiple colleagues from different departments teaching together right?

    And so I I don't know your specialism, but you know, maybe somehow there'd be a way where you know you.

    Do some of the teaching, and I do it, and then we still have sessions that actually work together.

    So it doesn't seem like they're just taking too many modules.

    And so some of that is what we wanna nail down at that electives festival this summer.

    We're having the students do an initial mapping of what themes we already have and what they wish.

    We taught that we don't, which we taught that we don't, which might still work with themes that we have.

    They might come up with things that we don't offer yet, like I don't know.

    We should have a minor in video games. There's some. There's a new video game elective that looks really good.

    I think it's creative writing and video games or something.

    Maybe they want a whole minor in that, right? So so we're gonna be taking the and then going to staff and then coming up with the themes.

    There's a few that Sasha has mentioned, that she's keen, that we offer we'll see if we you know where we have capacity and where the student interest is on that.

    And then the sort of solution to make sure that this works is that we have to actually protect electives, just like we protect for modules, and other pockets of our curriculum.

    I hope that kind of answered it. I think there's a lot more getting at what you're asking in that recording.

    Ben Fincham:  Yeah, it did to an extent.

    I think the key issue is, though, that when, if you look back at the founding principles of Sussex, that the point was that you were aware that you would be teaching people from other disciplines, at no point if I've been asked in an elective module to teach away from the ways in which I would teach sociology students.

    Which, then, is what creates the problem in the ways in which students from other schools or departments will take to that module because they that's not their language particularly, but I'm not being asked to deliver anything other than that so I think the idea of teaching across modules. Well, that would be exciting and interesting for me, anyway, I just don't know how you'd organize it.

    Professor Jessica Horst:  That's and I suppose that's the point of this, isn't it?

    Yeah, yeah, no, but but this is useful, and I'll try to look back around.

    This idea of, you know, are the training and staff development opportunities that we give to staff who do teach electives.

    Are they fit for purpose? So that's helpful. I'll make a note to come back to that this summer as well.

    Professor Claire Smith:  Well, thank you so much for those questions. I know it's very much.

    Yeah, much more space is needed. And this is why curriculum reimagined, is it's not going to be a short thing that we're going to put in.

    You know all these changes in, for you know, for September it is a program of work that is going to take a number of years and it's because we need such rich discussion to make those changes.

    Actually the right ones. And thank you very much. Everyone, as always.

    Jessica myself, Denise. Helen, always around. If you want to chat anything further and ask us anything, have a lovely day.

  • Video transcript

    [Presentation slide deck being shown to the right of the screen. First slide reads: Curriculum Reimagined – Professor Claire Smith and Professor Jessica Horst]

    Speaker Prof. Claire Smith: Good morning. Everyone if you are just joining I hope it's all a very good Monday morning for you.

    Slightly darker mornings, but really nice to see some sunshine as some blue sky.

    Okay, just going to share my screen.

    I see next down Helen Jessica. Does that look okay. Sharing my screen. Everyone.

    Thank you, Sarah. Appreciate the thumbs up.

    Yeah, it looks fine.

    Okay, we'll start a very warm welcome to our third Curriculum Reimagined open meeting. Thank you for joining us on this nice and sunny Monday morning, and today going to talk to you about our updates and what we've been up to.

    Jessica Horst, who is leading the architecture group, is also here today, Jessica is not feeling fantastic, so I'm going to talk to her slides, but some she's really happy to take questions in the chat and then also might be able to answer some as well, Denise is leading the operations workstream. Denise Cooper is also here as well and we'll be happy, I'm sure, to answer any questions as we go through.

    I can't see the chat all that easily, so I'm going to let you put questions into the chat.

    Our plan for this morning is to take you through a 15 min.

    Update on what's been happening with the project, what things we've been doing.

    And then it's really over to you into some breakout groups to help us answer some two, Help us look at some two key areas that we'd like your feedback on.

    [Second presentation slide reads: Why? The Learn to Transform Strategy is both bold and ambitious. In order to fully realise the aims of the strategy, a root and branch review of the curriculum is required]

    So just to think and arrive at a Curriculum Reimagined.

    This is about enabling our Learn To Transform strategy. It's a bold and ambitious strategy, and we want to really take a pause and think about what our curriculum offer is, why, we're moving forward with it.

    Why we need to really make larger systemic changes to our provision, to really unblock some of the issues. And to make that improved student experience.

    [Third presentation slide reads: Principles To ensure Sussex’s educational offer is distinctive, expresses our core values, and reflects our research strengths.

    To enhance our approach to inclusivity and accessibility, including to ‘design-out’ Reasonable Adjustments and tackle Awarding Gaps.

    To streamline the curriculum, and underpinning administrative processes, whilst preserving interdisciplinary choice and best pedagogical practice, including the use of digital technology.

    To ensure that our courses prepare students with the modern skills needed for work or further study so they can influence global challenges such as environmental sustainability, smart technology, and human flourishing.

    Curriculum Reimagined has four principles, as you might have seen before, to ensure that our education offer, is distinctive.

    To enhance our approach to inclusivity and accessibility, reducing awarding gaps, to streamline a curriculum, and underpinning the admissions processes, particularly bringing in the recommendations from the timetabling review and to ensure that our courses prepare students for that time after university.

    [Fourth presentation slide displays a benefits map which is explained below]

    Now I know there's a lot on here, but for Monday morning, but I thought actually this might be helpful.

    And we've been spending time having a look at the aims of Curriculum Reimagined and actually, what pieces of work we're actually going to do as part of this project.

    And using our and grouping our principles into Distinctive, Inclusive, Streamlined, and Future proofed.

    We've then be looking at the deliverables in in this column. You can see here. And these are going to form groups of sub project areas of work.

    Our plan is to take our proposals to the University Education Committee in May.

    This will then go onto UEG and to Senate. So for some of these pieces of work, for example, curriculum framework, which we're going to talk about later on, is a piece of work that's already in trail, for some of them for example, looking at what our elective tubes are going to be, the themes of them. And how they're going to work.

    It's going to take a little bit more time, and the principles of this will be going to the University Education Committee.

    The same for the review of assessment modes, and designing in choice and assessment.

    This is not something that we can suddenly do overnight, and do, for example, for our September start date going to the University Education Committee will also put this on the curriculum reimagined website will be a timeline for these projects.

    And when they're going to start and finish, I think it's always important.

    Sometimes when we're looking at the details of these to get caught in the details, but also to be pulling out what our overall aims and benefits are going to be.

    [Fifth presentation slide reads: Architecture Working Group Update

    Latest activity:

    1.Making strides on streamlining and simplifying the curriculum (e.g., reducing cross-threaded modules)

    2.Working with students on priorities and themes for electives and minor provision (look out for special focus group meetings to join)

    3.Consulting on “enrichment weeks” (cf. reading weeks)

    •In addition to the 11 teaching weeks per term

    •Including some centrally coordinated events (e.g., careers)

    •Including some school/dept coordinated events (e.g., lab skills)]

    As a result of this.

    Jessica's working group, the architecture working group, has been meeting frequently, and it's been making real strides on streamlining and simplifying the curriculum.

    So as part of this, it's really important that we don't build in any further complexities through curriculum reimagined, and that we look at our offer.

    We look at where we have cross spreading of modules, we look at where we have different modules, for example, teaching different levels with some modules end up being core, optional, and elective.

    So we need to really unpick this this all to make it much more manageable and streamlined.

    But at the same time making sure that students still have still have choice and optionality.

    So it's set to simplify that pathway.

    The architecture working group has been working with students, and Jessica's got a team of student connectors looking at electives and minor provisions, particularly looking at what the themes are going to be for electives because we want students to be really able and clear to say I want to take an elective.

    And I'm really interested in sustainability. So within a theme, for example, of sustainability, these are the electives that I might be able to access and look at as part of that.

    The other element, that the architecture working group is looking on is consulting on the idea of enrichment weeks, and this would be, in addition to the 11 weeks of teaching per term, and the idea is to include some centrally coordinated events. So, for example, bringing in work from the careers team from sustainability's team, but also bring in some school coordinated events that those particular disciplines might benefit from within, that.

    And it's really important. To say, this is, we're consulting on enrichment weeks.

    This is not put here as a ‘this is what we're doing’.

    This is to say, to help get to the aims that we've looked at would the idea of an enrichment week help Jessica. If there anything on there that I haven't mentioned.

    Thanks, Claire, the only thing to highlight is that at the moment those bullet points under the idea of enrichment weeks are coming from both schools, so, consulting with heads of school and some other department heads, and senior managers within schools, and then also for some of our Professional Services, our Central Professional Services colleagues.

    So, for example, staff in the library and in student engagement.

    So those bullet points there are sort of if we do enrichment weeks, we're going to want to have them as something in addition to our current 11 weeks, so that we're not losing teaching time.

    And they should not be a 100% centrally managed, and not a 100% sort of schools have to come up with sort of a activities for the week.

    But also there should be a little bit of structure to them, so that it's not just, Oh, go! Fly off and take a holiday? If they're really meant to enrich.

    But again, like Claire said, this is, if we agree as a university to move this forward.

    So we're still consulting on this before we decide whether or not we're going to propose to include this or not.

    When we have additional committee meetings this summer for University Education Committee and Senate.

    Thanks, Claire.

    Thank you. Thanks. Jessica.

    [sixth presentation slide reads: Curriculum and Assessment Working Group Update Curriculum Principles: Sussex Curriculum will be underpinned by four themes that will be integrated throughout all elements of the student life cycle. There are: Inclusivity, Sustainability, Employability, Internationalisation at Home. ]

    The curriculum and assessment working group has also been meeting, and one of the first things that we were really thinking about is how to join our aims of learn to transform into everyday practice, and as we briefly mentioned in the previous open meeting, we really think that it's important that we develop a curriculum framework for this. And what a curriculum framework can be you cut the cake very many different ways. It's about trying to say in a short document and say, for example, 10 pages, what our offer is, what are those boundaries related to the architecture.

    So how many weeks, how many credits per module, what the structure is, what our approach is, what our overall assessment is, and it will link out to individual policy, so that we have so, for example, linking out to our digital principles, linking out to lecture capture and linking out to our internationalisation at home work, our sustainability work. So it's pulling it all into one place.

    To do this, we've been consulting and thinking about actually, what core things really matter to us at Sussex and through, I can see some of people's faces.

    There was very messy diagrams on very many different ways of digital boards and physical Boards.

    We would like to think of our Sussex curricula being underpinned by four principles and these being inclusivity, sustainability, employability, and internationalization at home, and one of the things we'd like to ask you in your discussion groups later is have we got this right or is there something that's not right about these about these four principles?

    We also need to think about our approach to the curriculum.

    How everything we're going to be doing from our modules overview documents to validation, to review how?

    How are we always thinking about our curriculum offer?

    And we spent quite a bit of time thinking about this.

    And it's cyclic nature, and we'd like to.

    We'd like to make sure that within our curriculum approach.

    That it is applied and relevant, responsive and adaptive and connected and coherent.

    So in terms of it being applied, it needs to be not just knowledge of the safe knowledge, but knowledge in a way that can be used out in the place of work or further study.

    It needs to be relevant, relevant, based on what future employers need, what the wider society needs, it needs to be responsive.

    So, for example, the introduction of Chat Gpt, other areas of AI. VR, AR, etc. The next parts we need to respond to how this is, we need our curricula to be able to move much faster, to help generat interest from students, future student markets and to keep satisfaction within our cohorts so we need to make sure that our processes are slightly more agile to that so responsive and adaptive, also bringing in being responsible and adaptive to student feedback, whilst they are here, being able to do that much better and much quicker.

    [Seventh presentation slide reads: Curriculum and Assessment Working Group Update with diagrams that are explained below]

    Students need to feel connected to their course, to their discipline and connected to the University as whole, and be able to have a coherent experience so to be recognising that if they're doing a course on X subject, but actually that experience is very similar to Y and in choosing different modules that they're experiences between them are also coherent.

    You've then got a draft again, of trying to bring in lots of different ways and ideas of having those things very much at the heart of what we want to do at Sussex, having our curriculum approach going round it, and then having our graduate attributes on the outside and this is where I've got to. We've had several iterations of it, and they seem to be the easiest to show you there, so we've been working on our curriculum framework, and in the chat, or in a minute there will be a link to where to where this document is it's a document that's on box please feel free to share the link.

    And would really like consultation on this our working framework until the end of end of this month, when we then need some time to further work on it, and then come back for further consultation.

    [Eight presentation slide reads: Discussion Time

    Question 1. (Select Odd Number Break out rooms)

    In our draft Curriculum Framework we have identified four themes that will permeate through every aspect. Are these the correct 4 themes? How do you feel about the curriculum approach, how do you think it will be helpful in your teaching?

    Question 2. (Select Even Number Break out rooms)

    What would you be willing to compromise on to enable us to insert enrichment weeks into the academic calendar? (e.g., earlier start in September, shorter break in the Spring/Easter).]

    Perfect timing. I think this is the end of our updates, and we'd now like to ask T to break into some groups and discuss particularly these 2 factors we have been working on.

    If you end up in an odd number breakout room we'd really like you to have a look at the document we'd like you to discuss the 4 themes that we've identified, and we would like you to have a chat about how you feel about the curriculum approach that circular diagram, and how you see it be relevant in your teaching, and relevant in the process.

    If you're in an even numbered breakout room, then we'd really like you to start thinking about actually, the idea for enrichment weeks.

    What might you be willing to compromise, to enable us to insert enrichment Weeks, what things might be key to be involved in enrichment.

    And then we'll come back for discussion.

    If you feel able to in your groups, please nominate or self-nominate an individual that would be happy to feedback, or would be happy to put some dialogue into the chat.

    I think this discussion time for those will be 15 min. So at half past we'd like to like to bring you back. So I'm going to stop sharing and see many more of your smiling faces on big screen.

    There was then a discussion which the feedback has been documented separately.

    [Ninth Presentation slide reads: Next Steps Steering Group, Working Groups, Future Open Meeting on precise topics that need further exploration, University Education Committee May, Website is Live]

  • Feedback from break-out room discussions

    Question 1. (Odd Number Break out rooms)

    In our draft Curriculum Framework we have identified four themes that will permeate through every aspect. Are these the correct 4 themes? How do you feel about the curriculum approach, how do you think it will be helpful in your teaching?

    Are the themes internal or external. Global citizen/world citizen and employability. Right wording? Considering deliverability of what we are proposing to do. What are students looking for in a course? Why are they coming to Sussex in the first place. Disparity in the naming. Is it external or internal. Very important is visible externally. How are the themes made visible through the curriculum?

    A particular student may choose a specific course because they want a particular career. What if employability isn’t central for the student?

    How future proofed is this? We should be doing this anyway. Don’t just follow the buzz words.

    We don’t want to follow what everyone else is doing and then copying it. How can we lead. Innovative – how we see assessment and how we can do assessment.

    Practicalities of innovative assessments. Clear plan of how we can implement more innovative assessment methods, rather than focusing of four buzz words.

    Themes needs to be lived and students must have the opportunity to experience these principles.

    Think about the timing – when do we tell students about these? When do we advertise these?

    Internationalisation at Home. What does this mean? How could you structurally integrate this into modules or courses.

    Is the word themes correct? We wouldn’t ever say we don’t want inclusivity as a principle or a theme. Perhaps these are outward challenges? Areas of focus.

    Question 2. (Even Number Break out rooms)

    What would you be willing to compromise on to enable us to insert enrichment weeks into the academic calendar? (e.g., earlier start in September, shorter break in the Spring/Easter).

    Optionality in enrichment week

    Difficulty of inserting these weeks into the current teaching pattern – no time

    We only provide 22 weeks teaching, some institutions provide 33. One of the lowest Universities with regards to contact time

    Sussex is short on contact time

    We can’t remove content because of accreditation

    Could we extend the term?

    Are enrichment weeks and reading weeks the same?

    Reading weeks are important because students and staff need to recuperate

    Could the spring term start earlier – after A1 assessments?

    The Business School are currently undertaking student-led work on enrichment within term

    Flagging post Easter break. Bolting something on there isn’t going to work

    Attendance for non-assessed events. Will students come?

    Larger lecture theatres to improve timetabling

    Reduce complexity to improve timetabling

    Need reading week/enrichment week to be standardised across the University

    If we want to begin earlier in September, we need to think about resits because they’re already too pressured.

    Students focussed on doing really well. Only engage with events that directly relate to their final grades. Shall we put events on if students won’t turn up?

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