Exeter College’s Media Department and the National Health Service (NHS) collaborated to develop a new curriculum model. The challenge was in creating a model that would provide industry-relevant learning experiences for students, while also meeting the business needs of the NHS.

THIS CURRICULUM IS ESPECIALLY RELEVANT IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN: 

  • Curriculum design 
  • Media education 
  • Employability 
  • Community broadcasting 
  • Education business partnerships.

HERE IS A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT TO FIND IN THE CASE STUDY:

WHAT THE PROJECT SET OUT TO DO AND WHY

The project set out to examine the challenges associated with adapting the curriculum to create opportunities for students to learn in an industry context by delivering professional services on a commercial basis to clients.

In particular, the project focused on the following challenges: 

  • understanding the role of the tutor in managing a commercial project
  • placing students in a professional environment and ensuring that they have a successful learning experience and that the client receives a high quality service
  • balancing the expectations of students and the requirements of a client
  • securing alignment between the demands of live industry projects and the assessment requirements of the accredited media qualification.

WHAT THE PROJECT HAS ACHIEVED SO FAR

Feedback from students, tutors and the client was collected and evaluated and, from this, a set of recommendations and learning points developed. The impact of the project can be seen in: 

  • the positive feedback received from students about the benefits of learning through real work
  • the recommendations and key learning points which are informing a number of new developments arising from the project (described in the following section).

WHAT THE PROJECT STILL NEEDS TO DO

The project has led to a number of significant further developments including:

  • a proposal, under consideration by the College, for a Media Academy within which students would have the opportunity to work on production teams for a range of external clients
  • a successful application for a £10,000 grant to develop a similar model for level 4 and level 5 learners in partnership with Plymouth University
  • plus many more future developments in the full report.

KEY LEARNING POINTS

There were a huge number of points of reflection from this case study. Here are just a few of the many key learning points that can be found in the full report:

  • students may need help with ideas generation. Often they will see commercial briefs as mundane and they need help to think about them in innovative ways – if not in how the idea is conceived, then in how it is developed
  • some students are only motivated if their work is linked directly to assessment outcomes. While others are happy to undertake work that is not linked to assessment outcomes, all students value having work-based tasks accredited
  • this form of learning, structured around media production projects, changes the role of the tutor and support staff who now have a dual role of monitoring the learning needs of the students and meeting the commercial expectation of the client. This is an exciting space to occupy, requiring close communication and negotiation. At times, it is also extremely demanding and challenging, especially when the role of tutor conflicts with the needs of the client.

The full curriculum design case study also includes a summary of the student feedback as well as a short course outline, which may be helpful when redesigning your own curriculum.

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