T&L Showcase – Flexible Learning presentation by Dr Kim Watson & Dr Teeroumanee Nadan

As part of the series of T&L showcases organised by CDoTL, today we had the opportunity to participate in a Flexible Learning showcase during which we were able to present our work. Watch an 8min recording of the Showcasing event here.

We presented on the “Creation of  a Blended Learning Framework for the Biosciences”. Whilst we started with setting the background, in particular the delivery of a pilot short course in 2010, the most important aspect was the lessons learnt from delivering those courses. Our collaboration with 11 host companies and participants in 2010 principally taught us the following:

  • Flexibility of the programme must be at the core
  • Multiple Entry/Exit routes are desirable
  • There must be a variety of study modes/opportunities
  • Keep up the engagement with Industry

The current action is the development of 3 modules:

  • An Integrated Systems Approach
  • Genome to Proteome
  • Imaging and Affinity Technologies

Our future work can be summed up as follows:

  • Future module development: “Design of Experiments” “Maths for Biologists”, “High Throughput Technologies”, “Next Generation Sequencing and Beyond”
  • Industry and Professional Societies, collaboration with other HEIs – Potential to lead to MSc/Professional Doctorate qualification
  • Internationalisation of the curriculum: Focus groups with students, Student-led curriculum design, Global employability

However, from experience, it is important to recognise that Blended learning requires:

  • Comprehensive E-learning package: easy to use, flexible content, range of e-tools
  • Easy and reliable access to a range of multimedia resources
  • Allow interaction and collaboration
  • Infrastructure support and processes to fully enable all elements of flexibility (PT, FT, accreditation, credit transfer, etc), and to provide quality assurance
  • Web support 24/7

And perhaps the bigger and more important aspect is Institutional change, thinking outside the box and working smarter, not harder!

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