When the University of Coventry decided to put all its course content online five years ago it hired in a team that included teachers and creators, academics and media makers, planners, designers and coders; a lot of them came from the Open University.
Traditionally classwork in schools and colleges is created and ‘owned’ by the teacher; in this new model course content is a collaborative, one off exercise – rather than the ‘wheel being reinvented’ every time a new teacher steps through the door. This is meant to sound like a good thing: the ‘composition’ which is the class itself must still be delivered, the teacher is still the host, the teacher still runs discussions, provides feedback and grades work. However, only some of this needs to be done ‘live’ – much of it can be done before, during or after the event asynchronously.
To get content online and keep it in front of the students’ eyes requires teachers teaming up and working across disciplines with marketing and media provision, as well as learning designers. The model would make sense to a web agency where a team of three or four create work: a producer manages the project through, there are subject matter experts, a learning designer, as well as visualisers, copywriters and coders – the content gets created. Once assembled it is tested internally, tried out on a test group, improved or fixed at each stage and then released to the world.
Creating school and college course work should follow the same process.
In the world of learning and development the internal comms and learning teams get behind their work to get it in front of their target audience and keep it there. This should apply in an educational setting too – once created excerpts in marketing and communications should be involved to sell course content to students and keep it in front of the student’s eyes by using all the skills of their trade – it simply is not enough to create the work and expect students to buy into it. Competing for ‘eyeballs’ is good – selling your achievement, this class, is a posaitive thing too. A lot of work has gone into it, you want others to get behind it and most importantly you want the students to engage with the work enthusiastically.