Directorate for the Student Experience

SLP attend Office for Students innovation dissemination event

17 December 2018

In early December, a member of the Student Lifecycle Project business team attended the Office for Students dissemination conference for small-scale ‘experimental’ innovation projects. The funding for these projects was initially provided by HEFCE and the aim of the event was to showcase lessons learned and the outcome of innovative practices within Universities and Colleges across the UK.

30 projects and higher education institutions had the opportunity to relay their findings. Many of these projects shared similarities with the approach of the Student Lifecycle Project.

For example, a project undertaken by the University of Leeds Medical School used ‘co-design’ principles to design and build ‘myPAL’, an app for medical students working in hospitals during the later stages of their degree to access their assessments and receive feedback on placement. The team spoke about how they liaised with students and the hospital staff training them at every phase of design to improve the user experience and interface and promote buy-in for the product.

Keele University also used learner-centred design and learner analytics (the process of collecting and reporting data about learners to support student’s wellbeing and help them achieve more) to create a personalised learning progress experience for students. They designed and built a feature, informed by the wants and needs of students, in Blackboard to allow students on three courses to access their marks and attendance record and see their predicted outcomes throughout the year. Evaluation of this project in particular showed that this system influenced students’ behaviour and had a direct impact on their engagement with their course.

Kelly Dalton, who attended the session, said: “Attending this conference was eye opening to the change projects being undertaken at other universities within the sector. It was good to see that the University of Manchester is moving forward in a similar way.

“In comparison to the Student Lifecycle Project occurring at the University of Manchester, the majority of these projects were small-scale, impacting specific sub-sections of universities or courses.

“The Student Lifecycle Project shows how these values can be used to transform working and maximise efficiency across a university for the good of the staff and students working within it.”

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