Appreciative Inquiry is one approach to reviewing existing practice that fits well with the culture of the education sector. Depending on the type of change you are considering there are however many other types of self evaluation or benchmarking tools that may be of use.
In 2005-2008 Jisc and the HE Academy supported a major programme of benchmarking around technology enhanced learning followed by a programme of transformation known as “Pathfinder” that paved the way for the Academy’s current change programmes and services and the lessons learned from these activities are still of interest.
In the Jisc course data programme 87 learning providers completed a self-assessment framework looking at their state of readiness to implement a standardised approach to managing course information. The summarised results are interesting but of greater value to each of the institutions was the dialogue this engendered between parts of the organisation that did not generally see themselves as part of the same overall process.
The University of Central Lancashire used the Jisc Strategic ICT toolkit to undertake an assessment of its level of maturity in relation to strategic use of ICT and was surprised to find its score lower than expected. This produced some interesting dialogue whereby those who were directly involved in the management and delivery of Strategic ICT felt the results of the strategic ICT toolkit were incorrect and those who were not felt the results were correct. This led to a change project reviewing governance and communications around strategic ICT as well as alignment, ownership and responsibility of projects to ensure they were business led. Find out more in the project case study.
Overviews developed to support the work of Jisc programmes can also be of use in determining how the situation in your organisation compares with others in the wider sector see for example:
- Baseline review for the curriculum design programme (2009)
- Overview of the assessment and feedback landscape (2012)
You might find some of the participatory approaches suggested in our section on engaging stakeholders of use in devising your own approach.
It is always worth looking for data about the processes under consideration in order to be able to challenge attitudes that are based on assumption or myth. The managing course information guide includes examples of how the University of Bolton, City University, and Manchester Metropolitan University have all used data about their curriculum and assessment practices to bring about transformation.
Below are some suggested aspects and questions that you might like to think about and some suggested types of evidence that you could use for assessing your baseline and evaluating change.
|Aspect of current practice||Key questions||Types of evidence|
|Strategy and policy|