On Monday 27 July, staff and students from across UAL spent the day working together to co-design enhancement systems for improving the student experience at UAL. The event was organized by Catherine Smith, Teaching Excellence & Enhancement Co-ordinator, and facilitated by Joanna Choukeir, LCC PhD student and Chief Operating Officer of communication and service design agency, uscreates.
Participants included the Academic Registrar, the Dean of Teaching, Learning and Enhancement, the new SUArts Education Officer and college participants including an Associate Dean, programme and course leads, technicians, associate lecturers and fractional tutors and representatives from library services, human resources, the Teaching and Learning Exchange and students.
The group worked through a series of rapid-fire user-centred design exercises to generate fresh insights into motivations, enablers and barriers to enhancement. Cross-team group work was key to the day, which culminated in the ideation of an impressive 127 proposals for how we can enhance teaching and learning across the university. Some were slightly avant-garde due to the application of lateral thinking techniques (an Enhancement Happening anyone?!), but the Teaching and Learning Exchange enhancement team have committed to taking the rich observations and strongest ideas from the day forward into plans for the coming academic year.
Initiatives developed through a co-design approach achieve better outcomes because they are aligned with and embedded within the real contexts of those delivering them and benefiting from them, they meet their needs and they gather high levels of ownership and buy-in early on. This approach is particularly valuable in learning and teaching enhancement work at UAL firstly because enhancement is a collaborative effort across the university as opposed to being one person or team’s job, and secondly because UAL promotes enquiry-based and collaborative learning among its students – therefore it makes sense to adopt a similar approach at institutional level.
Catherine is keen to engage as many staff and students in enhancement dialogue as possible. She says
Enhancement is for everyone. Applying design thinking – the lingua franca of UAL – is a no brainer. It enables us to collaborate to develop our culture of enhancing student learning at UAL and have fun whilst we’re at it.
You can get in touch with Catherine on firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to be involved in future participatory enhancement events.