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The University of Southampton
Quality HandbookProgrammes and Modules

Understanding Contexts

Principles related to Understanding Contexts

  1. Programmes should be designed mindful of the resources involved in their creation, introduction and maintenance.
  2. Programme designers should consider the University’s Education strategy in order to determine the best blend of face-to-face and online interaction, and the optimal use of digital technologies for teaching, learning and assessment.
  3. Programme designers should develop programmes which meet the expectations of teaching, learning and research in the 21st century, which may, for example, be characterised as: digital, inclusive, individualised, open, networked, participatory, social and/or traditional.
  4. Programme designers should respond to individual learning differences and recognise that these may manifest themselves differently in offline and online behaviours, actions and attitudes.
  5. Programmes should be developed to be inclusive from a values/ethical perspective, and also within the overarching frame of the discipline.
  6. Programme designers should be cognisant of innovative uses of technology in learning and teaching and assessment aimed at maximising the holistic learning experience.
  7. Programmes should equip their students with appropriate skills, tools and the language to articulate, use, and translate digital literacies and traditional skills across a range of life contexts.

Articulation and Guidance

The University’s Education strategy, policies and procedures will guide programme developers to the best use of the learning, teaching and assessment methods for the learning that is taking place.

The development and creation of programmes cannot be undertaken without an appreciation of the micro and macro environments that the discipline, School, Faculty or University finds itself working.  The financial, educational and reputational impact of poor programme design and/or creation on students and the University should not be underestimated.

Changes to modules can no longer take place without a full understanding of the impacts of these on the programme(s) within which it sits and potential impact beyond the programme when considering student options.

Employability is a key driver within the University of Southampton’s Education Strategy. We strive to ensure that employability is embedded into all parts of the student experience and to give students the opportunity to develop their employability through the enhancement of, and ability to reflect on, their achievements (skills and personal attributes) as well as developing their relationships with the labour market and employers.

The University’s Employability Statement indicates that employability will be enhanced at every stage of the student journey via the following provisions:

The Employability Checklist provides practical recommendations to inform the development of curriculum and the Employability Exchange provides additional resources to support colleagues across the university in relation to employability. The Exchange includes content about the Graduate Capital Model (Tomlinson 2016) which can be a useful starting point for the development of careers content in the curriculum.

The Equality Act 2010 requires programme developers to anticipate and plan to make reasonable adjustments to all aspects of the programme so that disabled students are not disadvantaged.  Chapter 5 of the University Guidance on Reasonable Adjustments will support programme developers to make reasonable adjustments for disabled students.  Student memos, as provided by Enabling Services for students with evidence of a disability, also provide suggestions of strategies which may be put in place as reasonable adjustments for students.

Adopting a wider repertoire of learning and teaching methods and assessments can also help support students who may for one reason or another be disadvantaged by the extensive use of particular assessment formats.  A diversification of methods (where appropriate and practical) can therefore effectively lead to a more inclusive approach to assessment design.  Blended learning involves an appropriate balance of face-to-face and online activities that enhance the student learning experience and provide greater flexibility around study. Programme teams can also benefit, especially with larger cohorts, and there can be a reduction in the requirement for teaching spaces.

Good Practice and Checklists

Useful Documents

Developing Inclusive Practices

Inclusivity Good Practice Checklist

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