Talking PC3

I have had a day of talking about PC3, once again exploring the potential application of the approach we are proposing this time with senior Faculty staff and researchers. This morning it was off to present the project to the leadership team of our Faculty of Arts and Society. There was considerable interest in my brief presentation and a recognition that, perhaps more than most, staff in this Faculty (which includes art and design) are most familiar with a coaching style of teaching. There was strong support for the approach and one course potentially ready to run in parallel with our first user group this summer. A promising start.

This afternoon I joined the university’s professors and readers to discuss the future of postgraduate awards. Here again there was clear recognition that the PC3 model offers a way of supporting one of the types of postgraduate provision that we need to provide. After a general discussion on the challenges and progress being made, we broke into more intensive discussion groups and I joined a group to discuss professional and employer driven masters programmes and the challenges they present. One of the very useful elements of this for the project was finding out more about the new postgraduate schemata that is being developed, a simplified version of the Regional University Network’s “content free” validation structures. I will find out more about this as I know it is something of interest to our cluster – and it is certainly something which will help us enormously in the project.

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Eureka moments…

The PC3 team has just had a very profitable meeting with the team from JISC/HEA led by Sarah Knight. It is always a pleasure when meetings that could be simply routine prove to be stimulating and thought provoking on both sides and, as well as clarifying some of the more mundane project issues such as reporting requirements, the meeting raised many significant lines of enquiry and potential contacts for us to follow up.

One that has particularly caught our attention is the idea of developing a flexible module around the PC3 model. I can’t remember who suggested this (through a question I think) but I have a feeling it may have just triggered one of those “eureka” moments for the team. Two “objections” have frequently been raised to the model of personalised curriculum creation through coaching that we are proposing. The first is how we can enrol students into the institution without enrolling them on a specific award. The second is how we can fund the role of coach when it is not associated with a module or award. The idea of a flexible module to introduce students to PC3 has the potential to resolve both of these issues: we can enrol a student into the University by attaching them to a single module and we can cost the coaching activity by associating it with a module (which can then be allocated etc). The module could include principle and practice of coaching and being coached, personal critical reflection and self-assessment, developing evidence of learning and an introduction to the role of the technology involved.

We are definitely going to explore this further – in some ways it is of course blindingly obvious – but we hadn’t thought of it before today! So thank you Sarah and the team for a stimulating discussion and for serendipitous “eureka” moments!