We lead and support a range of digital education practice, projects and initiatives to enhance teaching and improve the student experience.
We work in partnership with schools and departments to appropriately embed digital education and enhance the student experience in line with the Education and Students Sub-strategy, and through the Education and Student Experience Portfolio.
We also lead several transformative digital education projects and initiatives as part of the Education and Student Experience Portfolio.
Digital learning environment review
The Digital Learning Environment project will improve the student and staff experience by delivering:
- a significantly enhanced environment with Blackboard Ultra Courses at its core providing an improved user experience with the use of new standard, streamlined, mobile-friendly module templates.
- a new approach to Learning Design and module presentation, fully aligned with our Education Development Service.
- enhanced integrations with industry-standard collaborative platforms and improved integrations with other university services
- consistent and integrated digital administration and support processes
After a successful pilot in academic year 2021/22, Blackboard Ultra Courses will be rolled-out for the start of the 2022/23 academic year to targeted programmes, ahead of a potential university-wide rollout in 2023/24.
Open and online courses
The Learning and Teaching Academy’s experienced course design team works with academic staff and subject matter experts to develop online materials for different types of learners on a number of different platforms, including the FutureLearn learning platform.
A founding member of FutureLearn, Cardiff University has developed 13 free online courses on the platform since 2013 with a total of 112,000 enrolments. Cardiff’s most popular courses include ‘Working with Translation’, ‘Muslims in Britain: Changes and Challenges’, ‘Community Journalism’ and ‘Making Sense of Health Evidence’ – each with over 9,000 enrolments.
Recent updates to the portfolio of courses offered by Cardiff University on FutureLearn include the launch of ‘Understanding Muslim Mental Health’ in 2022, exploring the distinctive mental health experiences of Muslims and how mental health support can be improved in Muslim communities; and an update of the ‘The Challenge of Global Water Security’ course that introduces learners to the challenges of water security on a local and global scale.
We are now broadening the types of courses that we offer fully online to expand the existing portfolio, in particular the development of new microcredential courses that include the opportunity to obtain academic credit upon successful completion.
Current microcredentials in development include the ‘Applications of Machine Learning’ 15-credit course in the growing area of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, to be launched in 2023 on the FutureLearn platform. The course is a 12-week, Level-7 fully online course which is being developed in collaboration between academic staff from the School of Computer Science and Informatics, members of the Digital Education team and FutureLearn.
Embedding and supporting digital and blended learning
We work in partnership with schools and departments to appropriately embed digital education practice into teaching, learning and assessment, for the benefit of all students and staff at Cardiff University.
Our digital education partners provide expertise and guidance to coordinate digital education activities and projects, ensuring blended and online provision is appropriately designed, resourced and supported. Each academic school has a digital education partner to help determine school priorities, attend relevant boards and meetings and coordinate digital education work and projects for their school.
We also work in partnership with professional services departments to support the development of student-facing teaching and resources.
Our Digital Education Support Hub provides flexible and responsive day-to-day support for digital education tools, platforms, and best practice for colleagues across the university.
Blended Learning Framework
Blended approaches use multiple methods to deliver effective, flexible and accessible learning by combining face-to-face interactions with online activities. The Blended Learning Framework provides guidance about design and delivery of programmes and modules across Cardiff University. This includes underpinning principles and expectations while providing a wide range of options for learning and assessment design to meet a variety of subject needs. The Framework includes the following elements:
- The Blended Learning Activities Menu details the most common blended learning activities to help colleagues design the learning on their module.
- The Digital Education Assessment Menu offers guidance on a range of assessment activities suitable for a blended learning environment.
- A series of templates, including a Learning Central module template, a weekly module map template, and an assessment map template, all designed to bring consistency and structure to the student learning experience.
- Guidance on supporting the student journey through a module, to help colleagues support and engage with students, particularly through the online environment.
We have led, and continue to lead, a number of initiatives to embed appropriate digital education tools, pedagogies and practice into how we do things at Cardiff. Some recent developments include:
- The development and support of self-service recording studios where staff can develop high quality video content for use in their teaching.
- The rollout and support of new tools and platforms including:
- Padlet, a collaborative learning tools which now has 900 users across Cardiff University.
- Mobius, which provides robust e-assessment tools for STEM subjects.
- LinkedIn Learning, which provides all students and staff with a wealth of curated online materials for their learning and professional development.
- Providing, in partnership with the Open University, the opportunity for over 160 colleagues to complete, and gain credits in, a FutureLearn course entitled ‘Online Teaching: Creating Courses for Adult Learners’, bringing together a diverse range of staff from across the university to form a vibrant learning community.
- The development of the Wales Virtual Hospital, a platform for the creation of immersive simulations for all Universities in Wales and the Welsh NHS.