By Rebecca Batelaan and Thomas Crichton
The Learning Enhancement and Innovation team runs Program Enhancement Partnership (PEP) workshops with Program Coordinators, Course Coordinators, Learning Designers, and Research Librarians to design, map, and constructively align the curriculums of programs and courses. These workshops are based on a method devised by Professor Gilly Salmon, which follows a six-step process to course design. From blueprinting, to storyboarding, and to drafting learning activities, the workshops aim to actively involve all members of the design team to produce an action plan for course development.
As Learning Enhancement Officers (LEOs) and current students, our role is to provide a student voice to course design discussions during workshops and to assist in the development of activities and resources. Our student voice is highly valued by the design team as a contributing factor towards course design discussions. The workshops are exciting opportunities for us to use our experiences as students to inform the look and feel of a course. It is indeed an important role, as our input will affect the experience of future students.
Creativity is encouraged in order to begin with a maximum number of ideas which can be assessed for viability and flexibility at a later stages in the process. The format of each workshop is slightly different, depending on the preferences and needs of the Learning Designer, Facilitator, Course Coordinator and School/Faculty. However, there are definite similarities, such as the need for creative out-of-the box ideas when designing learning activities and an open, non-intimidating environment for all members of the design team to contribute.
We have seen our contributions to course design discussions be adopted enthusiastically by instructors and Learning Designers to develop learning activities with the student experience in mind. By shortening the instructor-student feedback loop during the course design process, PEP workshops have helped to develop courses and learning activities that are both educational and enjoyable for students.
We love seeing how our student voice can affect the design of a course and how offering a student’s perspective can help spark innovative solutions to design challenges. All in all, we have thoroughly enjoyed being part of such an important process and helping to inform the design of learning experiences at the University of Adelaide.