How can you design for your future students and to draw from the widest possible pool?
Undergraduate Admissions & Outreach and Immigration have collated their most common Phase 1 feedback into some prompts for course teams. Contact their specialists for more information and support.
What should your students know when they enter your course?
What do they need in terms of prior learning, at what level and why?
Course teams are encouraged to think beyond 'we need qualification x for entry’, but rather reflect on what required prior learning is needed and at what level?
Can you justify the exclusion of some cohorts of students? If you articulate a narrow view of prior knowledge and learning you may risk narrowing your pool of students; this can become an issue for attracting a wide range of students, both domestically and abroad.
What are your students actually coming in with and what do they need to come in with?
Do you know about the range of curricula that your students will have experienced prior to entry and are there any gaps in student knowledge or skills?
Do you know how the curricula changes in post-16 education in England and Wales and in some other systems might have changed the experiences and knowledge students will have at the start of your course?
Ask specialists in Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach for support, especially where this was highlighted as an area for development in Phase 1.
If choices about prior learning require changes to entry requirements, what conversations can you have with Undergraduate Admissions & Outreach to consider these further?
Are you making the most of your departmental specialists who work regularly with Undergraduate Admissions & Outreach in your course redesign?
In addition to liaising with Undergraduate Admissions & Outreach, consider that your course development team may not always include your admissions tutor or your 'Widening Participation' contact; how can you make sure these key people are kept informed of or included in your design conversations as part of your engagement with departmental staff? How could you make use of their expertise in course redesign? e.g. Psychology's outreach officer has been engaged in reviewing A-level curricula.
Does your vision for your redesigned course include structural changes e.g. duration, timing of placements / work based activities, or involve students spending extended/unusually long periods away from the University? If so, have these plans been considered in regards to Tier 4 visa requirements?
Considerations for Year 1 design and transition
Are there any possible patterns of difficulty for students on your course?
What is your evidence for this (e.g. Phase 1 stakeholder data, student engagement surveys)? Who might you need to work with to understand these? (these may already be known; some thematic areas of patterns of difficulty for certain cohorts are emerging from Phase 1 as: support for critical writing, need for intro to subject-specific terminology, diversification of, clear introduction to and appropriate preparation for assessment types and environments, support for scientific report writing, Maths support, appropriately scaffolded group work.
If you are introducing new teaching approaches, e.g. problem-based learning, what plans do you have for on-course support in academic skills development appropriate to the needs of your cohort? Where can you embed this in your redesigned course?
Who will you need to work with to do this? (e.g. Library, Faculty Academic Skills contact?) Does this need to be different for students with diverse prior knowledge and/or experience?