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bullet Innovation projects at Warwick

The following projects for development of course/modules will use the Blackboard virtual learning environment. The nature of the individual courses is anticipated to vary considerably in the emphasis they put on the various tools within Blackboard and each may also employ other internet technologies. The first run of the WOCC programme will also serve as an appraisal of the Blackboard virtual learning environment, of the issues of supporting virtual learning environments generally and of the WOCC programme itself as a model for supporting this type of course and staff development.

Some of these projects were already in the initial thinking stage before WOCC was devised and would have been supported as individual projects but fit well into the WOCC development framework. Most see these projects as pilots for a procedure which may be applied to additional modules and courses. I have tried, successfully, to get a mix of different types of courses and, less successfully, as much spread across the disciplines as possible.  Subsequent runs of the programme may focus on individual departments as there has been some interest in that approach.

There are 11 projects in the current run of the programme.  Some of the projects are represented by a number of people e.g. the Politics project  is represented by a group of three academics while a technical support perosn associated with one of the WBS projects also attends the workshops.

1.  Quality Management and Techniques

Graeme Knowles - Warwick Manufacturing Group
type of course : module of postgraduate degree
number of students : 100
location of students : remote

WMG offers the MSc in Engineering Business Management in various countries around the world: UK (part time & full time), Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Africa, India, Thailand and China.  Quality Management & Techniques is an optional module on all programmes. 

The content of the module remains largely constant across locations with local speakers supporting the programme to tailor the case study presentations to the country concerned.

The main objective for the Web enabled learning is to increase flexibility for participants, most of whom are in full-time employment, to attend shorter learning events (probably around 2 days) without negatively affecting (and hopefully enhancing) the balance of learning opportunities within the module.  This will have the added effect of reducing tutor time away from the campus.

Lecture material will be strongly linked to online formative assessment and remedial study opportunities and with links to video material as required.   Online discussion forums will be used to enable intra-group learning on key topics.  Contributions to these discussions may form part of the assessment process.

2.  Research Methods and Critical Appraisal

Carol Davies – Warwick Business School (CHSS)
number of students : 15/16
location of students : on campus / remote

This is a new course being offered for the first time in September 2001, initially in a traditional distance learning format.  The objectives of using the Web to support the course are to shift the use of limited contact time from the delivery of course content but also to raise the level of debate and discussion using computer mediated communication. 

3.  WMG Programme Administration

Amanda Dowd – Warwick Manufacturing Group 
number of users : 1500
location of users : on campus / remote

Not a course as such but a system for managing and delivering/sharing large documentation and setting up virtual meetings. Not direct teaching but an interesting use of the same tools for collaborative working and information management and dissemination.

4.  Ecology and Conservation

Susan Barker – Institute of Education 
type of course : optional module of several undergraduate degrees
number of students : 40-60
location of students : on campus

This is a short option course in the science faculty.  Besdies the core tools that Blackboard provides, we will explore the use of video and 360 degree interactive wrap-around scenes of local woodland

5.  Sociology of Crime and Deviance

Anthony Colombo – Sociology
type of course : module of part time undergraduate degree
number of students : 70, 15-20 (part time)
location of students : on campus / remote

Sociology of Crime and Deviance is the largest course run by the Sociology Department with over 70 students.  The Web based approach will be piloted with the 15-20 part time students in 2001 and, if successful, scaled to the full course in 2002.  As well as providing a self study and collaborative learning environment, the online material will be used as the basis for illustrating points during lectures.

6.  e-Financial Design Module of Electronic Business Management Course

Ann Butchers – Warwick Manufacturing Group
type of course : module of postgraduate degree
location of students : on campus / remote

Will include a purpose built Web application developed in Cold Fusion that allows a form of interactive assessment not supported by Blackboard.

7.  Methods in Psychology

Linda Wilson - Psychology
type of course : module of undergraduate degree
number of students : 120
location of students : on campus / remote 

This is a compulsory first Year course providing skills and knowledge necessary for understanding the nature of empirical work in Psychology, and for designing, implementing, analysing and reporting the student's own empirical investigations. 

Due to student numbers, first year students can no longer participate simultaneously in the computing lab classes and the use of online course is in part to avoid the need for repetitive sessions. 

The course would consist of a series of online tutorials, each with formative assessment.  These might include Basic computing (The basics of using Word, Excel, SPSS and the web) , Experimental design and Data and analysis.

As a good understanding of the material is essential for future modules, tracking and monitoring completion of the online tutorials is essential.

8.  Managing Innovation

Laura Quigley – Warwick Business School
type of course : module of postgraduate degree
number of students : 350
location of students : remote

Initially, this will be a new course for distance learning students derived from an existing face to face course perhaps later replacing or augmenting the face-to-face version.

The curriculum will refer directly to innovative uses of IT, and online discussion boards involving active entrepreneurs and contact with all MBA students, most of whom are in full time. Group work will be assisted by online discussion environments, with online group facilitators.

9.  Britain in Europe and Europe in Britain

David Baker, Ben Rosamond and Philipa Sherrington – Politics and International Studies
type of course : module of undergraduate degree
location of students : on campus

This will also be the title of a book to be published by Sage and the online course may support or integrate with the book.  We will be exploring the use of video clips.

10.  Postgraduate Award in Teaching English for Specific Purposes (ESP)

Hilary Nesi - CELTE
type of course : A module in 4 postgraduate degrees
number of students : initially 10% of course
location of students : on campus / remote

CELTE offers four eleven month full time, face to face MA courses. The majority of participants are from overseas, and live on campus. 

Many English language teachers with MA qualifications find themselves promoted to ESP in mid-career, but do not wish to repeat an entire MA programme or even to attend just the second term of a CELTE MA course.

This project will convert material from the ESP Professional Practice module, one of the three theoretical modules, to create a distance learning  course leading to a Postgraduate Award 

The ESP Professional Practice module is particularly suitable for conversion to distance teaching mode because it requires close analysis of the participants' target teaching situation, and access to authentic documents such as manuals,subject department handbooks, assignments etc that are easiest to obtain at the participants' place of work. It is envisage that the module will be offered to small groups of learners at various starting points throughout the year. There will be a theoretical component, but a large part of the course will be devoted to the evaluation and development of syllabuses and materials to meet the needs of groups of ESP learners specified by the participants.

The project will transfer existing lecture material, handouts and bibliographies to Blackboard, and also create conference areas for the discussion of teaching experience and the review of ESP teaching.

11. Organisational Evaluation and Business Improvement

Margaret Toozer – Warwick Business School 
type of course : module of postgraduate degree
number of students :
location of students : remote

This project will make heavy use of the discussion and group working facilities within Blackboard. 


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