Here in the Centre for Staff Training & Development (CSTD) at Reading we’ve been working for some time behind the scenes to design a new Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) to replace our current programme in 2013-14. The new programme will enable a more innovative and supportive approach to programme delivery and assessment in order to more effectively prepare both new lecturers and support staff in meeting the diverse challenges of their new role within a research intensive university. For many new staff with a teaching role, completion of the programme is a condition of their probation, so we need to get it absolutely right. And, of course, in a programme which encourages good pedagogic practice, we need to demonstrate the same.
The new programme will be delivered in intensive blocks rather than weekly workshops. Beyond using the Blackboard VLE as an online repository for programme resources, we also plan to use Blackboard for communication purposes and delivery of content between the intensive blocks. Our challenge is to create an online learning space where participants can continue to develop their understanding of Teaching & Learning and where discussion can take place. We are considering the use of software/tools to support our work, such as Blackboard Collaborate and a web-authoring tool.
This is where the Digitally Ready project comes in. The project is covering the costs of some consultancy, to enable us to talk through our ideas during this initial planning stage with a learning technologist and instructional designer, to map the most effective approach in achieving these goals. There will also be some funding to cover the costs of a student in helping us to ‘build’ the online content. It’s early days for us, but we are delighted to have received this funding and excited about the opportunities it offers.