Completed Case Studies

The importance of balancing both theory and practical work in the delivery of the HNC in music at East Kent College, taking into consideration the needs of the stakeholders involved

Location: East Kent College (Broadstairs campus) (Music)

Description: In the planning of the HNC in Music production delivered from 2012 – 2015, the programme was centred round the two key areas of music production and music composition, with six out of the eight modules focusing on these areas in a mostly practical way. It is clear that the core commercial assets described by UK Music are found through practical based skill building with a knowledge of the inner workings of the industry and less through the comprehension of the theory behind the subject.

As such, the HNC included real-life application in the form of an independent record label where content could be released for both digital download and streaming services and allowed students to understand the processes and levels of quality needed to release commercially available products. The modules studied on the HNC were chosen through the Btec specification and came with rules of combination that did not allow the flexibility to update the curriculum, so the staff used their own professional expertise and knowledge of the rapidly changing industry to successfully adapt assessments so that learners understood that entrepreneurship was a viable career path.

How do we throw away the spoon?

Location: East Kent College (Broadstairs campus) (Interactive Media)

This research investigated the role of the student as ‘Educational Collaborators’, with the aim of designing a course that would allow students to work alongside programme staff in the key programme design, delivery of their teaching and learning within their study programme. With the opportunity afforded by revalidating the HNC Interactive Media programme in 2016, the staff redesigned some units so that learning moved from a traditional instructor-centered classroom to a student-centered environment. They were informed by successes on their FE courses, and adapted some of the approaches to the HE setting.

This project focused on hiding the mechanics of learning by engaging students closely in their own developmental journey. The whole idea of reaching a professional level of design and production is one that underpins creative industries curricula; are the students learning the all-important sector skills and, equally importantly, transferable skills they need to be employable? Embedding the ‘Flipped Learning’ model was the goal for some units, and while the course was successfully redesigned there is still potential for work to be undertaken in evaluating the influence such an approach might have on the scholarly activity of the learners on the course.

Capturing student-directed research methodologies within HNC Computing and evaluating perceptions of its value to their peers

Location: East Kent College (Computing)

Description: The aim of this project was for students on the HNC Computing course to investigate the various methods used by their peers and tutors within an FE environment to research and share various topical information relevant to their subject area. This built on the observation that outside of class hours, many students spent time researching and evaluating extracurricular material. The staff harnessed this enthusiasm and loosely coordinated the evaluation and dissemination of gathered information via the VLE Blackboard system to the cohort.

By and large the material shared was either directly or indirectly linked to various aspects of the course but the important aspect to this process was that it encapsulated student-directed study and collaborative working to great effect. Concentrating as it did on the perception of their own scholarly activity by learners, this case study did not conclude due to time and work constraints on the students involved. However, such is the value of this project, it is planned to resurrect it with a new cohort in 2016-2017 and ensure all of the desired perceptual information is gathered and evaluated for use by the Scholarship Project Development Manager and the Computing staff in the upcoming academic year.

Using Supported Experiments to Evidence the UKPSF

Location: College of North West London (Teacher Training)

Description: In October 2015 CNWL implemented a cross-college initiative called SEED ('Support Experiment Embed Develop') as a form of staff development. SEED is a supported experiment (action research) initiative. The project has two main objectives; firstly, to enable teachers to improve teaching and learning and secondly, to empower teachers by providing a means by which teacher development is teacher led. SEED will enable teachers to identify and then experiment with a teaching approach and to share the results at an event in July of that academic year recommencing the project cycle at the start of the following academic year.

There are currently 18 project teams undertaking a range of supported experiments including one team for Higher Education. The proposed research will investigate the use of supported experiments as a form of scholarly activity for HE lecturers. In the seconds stage of the project coming up in 2016-2017, it will examine how supported experiments could contribute to enabling Higher Education lecturers to meet the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF), particularly Hourly Paid Lecturers, and as a result gain Higher Education Academy professional recognition.

Educating Foundation Degree Sport Studies on the possibilities for work based learning placements and through a wider vision of full-time employment by establishing and managing industry-related employment links

Location: North Kent College (Sports Studies)

Description:The HE Sports Studies department at NKC has a long tradition of industry and employer involvement for their programmes, but a formalisation of on-site delivery to students is something that has been discussed on several occasions as a development that would benefit the learners and employers alike. There may be industry practitioners whose skill set makes them suitable for teaching and they may wish to see if they could gain valuable classroom experience, or there may be employers who wish to go and discuss with learners about the skills required in the ‘real world’ and the opportunities that may be available to them in their particular sectors.

The aim of this project is to involve actual employers and industry in developing and delivering study skills. There is increasing evidence that employers want graduates who are not only subject specialist in their training, but are capable of resourcefulness, problem solving and working on their own volition. By linking employer requirements for well-rounded graduates to the needs of HE curriculum, there should be plenty of scope to make study skills far more effective and attractive to students.

The enhancement of Foundation Degree Sports Science Students’ study skills and their application to assessment and employability

Location: North Kent College (Sports Studies)

Description:Study skills have frequently been an area for development over the last few years. Problems have included a lack of allocated time, resources, poor student attitudes towards study skills and the complexity and academic nature of the skills. Whether the course is at FD, BA or Access, making study skills relevant to vocational training and palatable to the student is a tricky balancing act, and effective assessment cannot achieve everything in promoting study skills - there has to be an integrated approach to the rest of the curriculum, otherwise the differentiation in the skills being developed only serves to alienate students even more.

In order to make study skills more appealing to students therefore, the staff involved are devising and trialling a number of approaches for full implementation in the next academic year (2016-2017). These include games and activities incorporated into study skills sessions, critical analysis/thinking activities, the integration of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Need into the sessions, peer assessment, mock presentations with peer and tutor critiques and the re-scheduling of assessed work. The work undertaken so far in exploring different ways to enhance FD study skills will carry on and be monitored by the staff at NKC and the Scholarship Project Development Manager.

How the student experience can be enhanced to enable transferable skills to be acquired more readily supporting employability

Location: East Kent College (Broadstairs campus) (Performing Arts)

Description: What is the skillset of a performing artist? How does this link to and how can it be enhanced by integrated transferable skills? Transferable skills within performing arts are not always obviously required, but there is increasing evidence, often directly from employers, that graduates can use these skills in jobs outside of the sector. Getting the message out that all skills learned by a creative arts student can be employable skills is very difficult, but the message has to be aimed not only at HE students but at those in FE as well.

To achieve the project’s aims, the staff are enhancing and amplify the elements of their curriculum design to provide useful, employer-directed skills. This is a useful, viable way to get employers involved, which is one of the main aims of the Scholarship project, while serving the purposes of the community, employers and learners. A questionnaire has been devised to capture the opinions of employers and it will be used in a comprehensive restructuring and revalidation of HNC Performing Arts at EKC during 2016-2017. After this time, the effect it has on learners’ employment prospects - and performance in the workplace - can then be judged.

Strategies for enhancing internal L3 progression onto L4 programmes within North Kent College

Location: North Kent College (General Curriculum - all students)

Description: NKC are currently undertaking a college-wide study into how internal Level 3 progression can be enhanced and encouraged onto their existing and planned Level 4 provision. The aim is to produce a generic strategy for use across all curriculum areas, but the nature of the research being undertaken makes it ideal for use within the Scholarship Project because the process of gathering and evaluating information is primary research, and decisions made on the findings will directly influence the progression of learners.

Of particular interest are the perceptions of current L3 students who have the option of progressing internally to Level 4 within NKC. Canvassing their views on progressing their studies per se rather than NKC specifically have been identified by the college as important. Talking with learners at both Levels 3 and 4 about hooks that might/did attract them to progressing would also be of considerable value for the study, along with exploring any experience of learning, either good or bad, that might influence their decision to go further with their studies. Involvement with programme development at L3 and L4 would also contribute information to student-tutor collaboration in delivery and assessment on their present and previous courses.