What were your key aims/objectives for this new online programme?
The aim was to develop a programme that could fit around our students’ working lives and allow them to learn from and with other students from around the world. We wanted to design a programme which would allow each student to develop as a leader in the field of dementia care and enable them to use the best evidence available to support their practice. It was critical for us that we adopted a human rights perspective to understanding the experience of people living with dementia (and their families) and to work with those same people collaboratively in planning, writing and delivering the programme. Also, as with any Master’s programme we wanted to ensure that the whole thing is underpinned by cutting-edge, contemporary research.
What did you find most challenging about content creation for online delivery?
I think probably the short time frame and the fact that this was a completely new programme, that we were writing from scratch. I had never delivered a module 100% online before! I was really excited about it, but worried about making it user friendly and engaging. We recognised that many of our students were health and social care practitioners, that some might have been out of formal education for a while and that many may not be totally comfortable in an online environment. We knew this could be a very new format for them as compared to their usual, more traditional training methods. My worry was how to convey the person-centred care ethos and ‘values base’ that was crucial to the course through completely online content. We recognised that our students had an enormous amount of experience and expertise, so we wanted to ensure that the delivery allowed space for sharing experiences and for learning from each other as much as possible.
Did you enjoy working with, and feel well supported by, the Academic Development team at CEG Digital?
Yes, we have been well-supported. The academic content creation is done by academic staff. The main role of CEG has been to advise on module structure/flow and online pedagogy, plus transfer the content we've created into the platform and make it look beautiful! We have been given advice and ideas on how to present the content to engage students – using formative quizzes and reflective prompts, for example, or using UI features to break up material and improve instructional clarity. It has always felt like a very collaborative process and a team effort. It is evident that the development team have a lot of experience of working with academics/SMEs and are well aware of the pressure we can find ourselves under at times. The enthusiasm of the team for the programme has been really motivating.
The whole Academic Development team have been really supportive and responsive. This was all new to me, but I never felt patronised or outpaced. I always genuinely look forward to the weekly meetings, where we see how the content has been transformed! Overall, I have been really impressed with the team’s professionalism and have enjoyed getting to know them. They are extremely friendly and approachable and have become valued colleagues.
Are you happy with the ‘end product’?
Yes, absolutely. Without the CEG Digital team the module simply would not exist and would never have been up and running in such a short space of time. The high standard of the work is an example now to other courses in our faculty, showing what can be achieved online. The DL-adjusted content and presentation has also made it possible to bring in students with a wide diversity of academic and professional backgrounds. Overall, I’m just really proud of what we have achieved.
What three words would you use to describe the support you received?
I think I’d have to go with: friendly, expert and creative!