Executive Summary

The main aim of the project is to adapt an existing set of three teaching modules to an online distance learning platform. This will allow WIE to consider future possibilities for delivering an online doctoral degree programme to part-time international students and to further expand the modules that are currently offered for our distance learning Masters programmes.

In providing ARM online we expect this to help WIE to gain a greater market share in countries in the middle to far east. Our experience suggests that educators within this sector are looking to the UK HE for training and development. As a result it would be possible to recruit a wide range of Masters students who are likely to undertake the modules, particularly those who wish to take a more blended learning approach to their postgraduate education. Our experience with online modules also demonstrates that PhD students are more likely to engage with the course. The Foundation Methods Research Module has been made available this year for the first time and has attracted over double the number of students that were expected for the trial run (6 expected - 14 actual). The majority of the students undertaking this module are those doing a PhD. The income generated by moving these modules online could be grown year on year and will be a benefit to both the institute and the university as a whole.

The main stakeholders in the project are: WIE management and staff – expanding the range of distance learning modules we have available; students at post graduate and doctoral level – who are looking for distance learning modules on key areas of their work to enable them to both gain employment in research but also gain a enhanced understanding of research methods. Therefore as this is the main target group we hope to enlist at least two post-doctoral students and two master’s students to evaluate the module as each section is being developed. We would also aim for these students to be part of the changing attitudes exercises for the academics involved in the project. In order to get the most from the students they will be expected to have studied these modules as taught courses, so that their input is based on experience and knowledge.

It is hoped that IATL can assist the project by helping us develop insights into the barriers and pitfalls in converting a taught module into a distance learning module. Funding will also help provide additional support in enabling the staff on the project to record and edit video and audio to an acceptable level for distance learning. Furthermore, we would like guidance from IATL on other areas that may be considered to enhance the delivery of the distance learning module once it is being delivered to enhance the student experience.