The Landscape of Learning
Dundee and Angus College Horticulture students, staff and industry collaborating on ‘GROUND-BREAKING’ curriculum re-design.
On Wednesday 24th January 2018, over 45 people including horticulture student, staff and industry representatives came together to begin a new ground-breaking collaborative journey. As part of the Good to Great project, a College-wide curriculum review is underway led by Vice Principal, Simon Hewitt.
The Landscape of Learning workshop initiated by Gregor McGillivary, Service Design Academy pioneer and Course Leader, Land-based and facilitated by the Service Design Academy is the first of its’ kind within College (if not nationwide!) where students, staff and industry experts will get the opportunity to co-design the curriculum.
Simon opened the workshop providing context on external influences currently impacting on Colleges. Colleges are facing major changes in the near future. Schools have been approved to start providing NC curriculum, which previously could only be accessed in College. Universities have widening access targets to meet and maintain, resulting in more potential College students being accepted to Universities earlier in their learner journey.
As an educational institution, the College is aware that it needs to do more to truly understand the needs and barriers faced by our students. We need to work collaboratively with industry to ensure that we are providing the right skills and knowledge required for our students to be successful in their careers. The Landscape of Learning workshop is the first step in completely revamping the way the College designs the curriculum in this subject area.
The main aims of the workshop were to:
- Introduce horticulture staff, students and invited industry representatives to the concept of Service Design and a range of Service Design tools and methods
- Establish what currently works well and what areas require improvement
- Identify what the ‘right questions’ are to progress with co-designing a new curriculum
To meet these objectives, the plan for the day included introductory background and theory, our breaking down assumptions exercise which can develop a sense of empathy and understanding for each other. We conducted user interviews and used the fast idea generator tool to stimulate some creative and innovative ideas.
Originally, the icebreaker planned had been to make use of Hello Cards however when such a fantastic number turned up to participate (30 students, 10 members of staff and 5 industry) we decided to act pragmatically and use the fun and energising ‘Post-it Game’ icebreaker.
I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for any noise and disruption caused when all 45 participants took to the third floor corridor in Kingsway Campus to complete the Post-It game! Ten minutes and at least a 100 post-its later (all recycled!) the group returned to the classroom for some Service Design Theory. There was a real buzz of excitement and enthusiasm and this may well have echoed around the building disrupting a few!
I know that for some of the participants, attendance at the workshop was compulsory however active participation was not. Yet it was clear that the students were motivated, opinionated and ready to influence change from the get go!
Caron Sandeman provided some examples to give an understanding of the impact that service design has already had world-wide. Examples and case studies included Air BnB, Audi Road Side Assistance and Monzo as well as giving an insight into the internal projects running like the Service Design training academy – open to both staff and students.