If you've missed out on an open meeting for Curriculum Reimagined, you can watch them below.
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- 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 (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.
- 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.
Principles of assessment
Out of scope:
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 digitaltechnology.
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.
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.
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.
[Seventh presentation slide title is Architecture & Structure Update)
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
• 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
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
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
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
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
University Education Committee
• University Executive Group
• Time to undertake work and next Open
• 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.
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.
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
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.
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?