Project Deliverables and Methodology

The Project will conduct a detailed analysis and audit of the existing processes and practices within the Consortium HEIs on the engagement of practitioners in the design, development, delivery and assessment of flexible upskilling programmes. The review output will inform the development of a new framework aligned with international best practice defining: best practices and governance, a professional development pathway for tutors, new assessment methodologies and new student feedback protocols. The new framework will be documented and its findings and operation disseminated.
Following are the work packages:

1. Analysis of Existing Processes

  • Conduct a detailed analysis and mapping of the existing processes and practices within the Consortium HEIs on the engagement of practitioner tutors in the design, development and delivery of flexible upskilling and professional development programmes;
  • Generate feedback from current practitioner tutors on improvements required to existing systems;
  • Analysis of international best practices in the engagement of practitioner tutors;

2. New Framework Development

  • Develop new best practices framework to structure the engagement of practitioner tutors in the development and delivery of curriculum for online/blended learning using recognised international best practice. This framework would engage the practitioners in the development of programme and module learning outcomes, assessment methods and syllabii and ensure consistency in the design, delivery and assessment of academic material by practitioners.
  • Create a database of trained practitioner tutors across the region.
  • Create a protocol for Enterprise to define requirements for new programmes or modules.

3. Development of Governance Structure

  • A regional best practice governance structure that will standardise the integration of practitioner tutors into programme/module development and delivery for example this could include a standard legal contract and terms of reference for enterprise based tutors creating a standard professional and efficient approach to the relationship between the HE and the practitioner expert.

4. Professional Development of Practitioners

  • A skills needs analysis will inform a structured upskilling of practitioners to deliver/codeliver/e-moderate/assess online and blended learning modules.
  • This will include the development of a specific website with a suite of blended learning upskilling modules to meet skills requirements for practitioners preparing them to teach from L6 – L9 on academic programmes, available in all three institutes.
  • An accreditation pathway for practitioner tutors aligned with the level of upskilling modules completed; three levels envisaged to reflect Essential, Intermediate, and Advanced level tutor skills – to be aligned with current international best practices. Skills will include curriculum design, online/blended education design, e-moderating, assessments and managing student interaction. Extensive existing online resources from National sites will be re-used.

5. Innovative Assessment methodologies for moderators/tutors to assess students’ collaborative activity on blended-learning Technology programmes

Outputs will be:

  • a set of well-defined grading protocols to be adopted by assessors/moderators of collaborative activity in large scale blended learning programmes;
  • a unique data set that will inform the generation of best in class courseware, supervisory protocols and grading paradigms for a broad class of students in strategically important Technology areas;
  • machine learning techniques will be used to innovatively tailor a set of e-tivity type learning instruments and exercises that will personalise the learning experience for each student within a particular tutorial sub group. This approach will facilitate much more accurate grading of students within a blended learning environment.

6. Establishement of a “Students as Partners” approach to curriculum design, delivery and assessment

  • Devise a protocol for curricular and pedagogical enhancement with the objective of facilitating constructive engagement between the module leader and the student cohort within the online space;
  • Protocol will be developed by a focus on specific blended learning modules;

7 . Apply New Framework

  • The new framework will be piloted on specific new/existing flexible learning programmes from each of the three HEI’s:
    • MSc in Artificial Intelligence Level 9; (UL)
    • MEng Mechatronics L8; (UL)
    • MA STEM Education L9; (MIC)
    • BA Early Childhood Practice L8; (MIC)
    • M Ed in Irish-medium and Gaeltacht Education L9; (MIC)
    • PG Certificate in Enterprise Solutions Development L8; (TUS)
    • BSc Process and Engineering Management L8; (TUS)
    • Certificate in Engineering L6; (TUS)
  • A minimum of two modules from each programmes will be piloted;
  • The new framework will be used to develop all new flexible learning modules within the project timeframe;
  • Develop case studies of the integration of practitioner tutors into the selected modules using the new framework. The case study will record the process of engagement with the enterprise-based expert through the full lifecycle process of module design, development and delivery.

8 . Dissemination

A marketing plan highlighting the development of new programmes by a partnership with enterprise; dissemination at conferences and via academic publications.

  • This will include an annual ‘Show and TEL’ event across the partner institutions showcasing external practitioner implementation of the newly established quality assurance frameworks; direct promotion targeting relevant sector/enterprise events;
  • Develop a report outlining “Best Practice for engagement with practitioner/enterprise-based in Academic programme development” encompassing all aspects of the new framework.