Last week I attended a train the trainers session to use the resources and outputs from the viewpoints project. I had first seen this at Alt-c in 2012 where it was refreshing to see such meaningful discussions take place over a3 sheets, laminated cards and post it notes.
Our colleagues are considering using this in house. It’s soundly based on Nichol’s work on good assessment and feedback, is learner centric and has a track record success as a non threatening tool to rework module design.
Sitting around a square table we place cards on our timeline, chat about them, try them in different places and swap them around. We discuss things like: “how do students know what good looks like should we build this in earlier?” before placing a card earlier on, and move elements out of induction when it looks rammed.
There were a number of things I really liked
- Easy – very easy to explain and get started
- Non-hierarchical – gathered around a table with coffee sets us up for conversation and discussion rather than one person dictating the flip chart
- Moveable – trying something in a new place involved sliding a card and seeing what others could add
- Aspirational – without getting bogged in the detail we could set off to design the perfect module to meet our challenge, abstracting it freed us to be more creative and aim high.
- Common understanding- a photo of our messy final output (while scruffy to outsiders) is meaningful to our team – we can remember our rationale for the flow.
- Inclusive – students and less experienced staff can get involved too
In the land of OU our team have been going through a longer winded design process. We’ve started by defining our learners, revisited our challenge and are now off in search of case studies and theoretical frameworks. Doing this as an at-a-distance, time pressured, online meeting driven exercise inevitably means that those informal conversations don’t happen. We may all not have the quite the same shared understanding of our challenge or approach. I conclude that good design needs more time, coffee and biscuits.