QAA Quality Insights Event

March 2021 - Helen Brown

Educational Enterprise and Dr Sarah Montano, Deputy Director of Education (Digital), presented at the 'Quality Insights Digital Conference 2021: Engaging Students and Connecting Curricula in a Digital Future' event on the topic of ‘Postgraduate Research Student Experience’.

Postgraduate research student requirements are often overlooked in the learning design process which is why we were asked to present our approach at the event.

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Showcase for the University of Birmingham

We showcased the design we developed in collaboration with academics for the online MA Social Research programme. We presented to over 40 attendees ranging from PVCs, Academic Registrars, and Heads of Departments to education technology specialists.

Sarah provided an overview of the programme and then we focussed in on a key part of our design process – creating personas. Through creating detailed personas, we get to know who we’re designing for so we can aim to address their needs in our module design. We look at the existing information we have about past and prospective students to identify what motivates them and what challenges they may face while learning. Our starting point with creating personas is to answer these 3 prompts: I am..., I want..., So I can...

For the MA Social Research, we created 3 different personas to represent a broad spectrum of learners. Once we had these we were able to then design a solution for the various requirements.

Working Alongside UoB Distance Learning Leads

In the presentation we highlighted the close working relationships we have with academics and in particular all the college Distance Learning Leads. We collaborated with Sarah throughout the development of the programme but her focussed involvement was during the quality assurance (QA) stage at the end of every module development. Sarah concluded our presentation by talking about her experience of being involved with the QA and how she approached the process.


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