Innovation & Enterprise


Short Course Support team and Digital Education share expertise in short course development

14 December 2018

Short Course Support (formerly UCL Life Learning) and Digital Education recently shared their expertise in planning and delivering short courses with universities from across the UK.

People at a workshop

Short Course Support, part of UCL Innovation & Enterprise, together with Clive Young and Nataša Perovic from UCL Digital Education, delivered a one-day practical workshop to colleagues from universities across the UK. The workshop shared best practice and expert knowledge on planning and designing successful short courses.

Request from the CPD Forum

The workshop came about after a request from attendees of the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Forum conference, hosted for the first time by UCL earlier this year.

The CPD Forum is a partnership between UCL, Imperial College London, City University of London and King’s College. It was initially established as a network for higher education institutions in London involved in developing, delivering and marketing CPD, executive education and short courses. With a membership of over 200, the forum now includes members from across UK, Scotland and Ireland.

The workshop was held on 10 December 2018 at UCL BaseKX, UCL’s startup, co-working and event space in King’s Cross. It provided delegates with some hands-on practical experience in course design. 

Researching market demand and costs

The day started with advice on market research and the need to understand their audiences' requirements - an essential component to successfully delivering a short course. One delegate commented that they felt the day would help them "turn their initial ideas into reality.”

Next, the process of costing a short course was demystified with a guide to estimating costs and assessing a course's viability. Another delegate felt this session helped them make sense of something they'd previously thought was “black magic”.

Using the ABC method to design a short course

Delegates then moved on to planning and designing a short course using the ABC Learning Design method - an innovative, engaging card-based approach to course design. Using short course scenarios from across disciplines, they worked on validating a course idea, formulating learning objectives and identifying who the audience would be.

With a plan in place, they were then able to design their course using a storyboard. They mapped out the course, aligning learning outcomes with learning activities.

Delegates ended the day feeling “more supported to put ideas into practice”, having learnt a method to successfully deliver a short course and taking lots of hints and tips away with them.

Support for UCL staff developing short courses

Alison Pretlove, Head of Development, Short Course Support, said: “We’re continually enhancing our support service for short courses, ensuring that learners engaging with UCL get a high quality experience. Ultimately, we want to establish UCL as a centre of excellence for advice on short course development and delivery within the higher education community.”

The Short Course Support team run a number of free lunchtime workshops to help UCL staff develop and run short courses. Find out about upcoming workshops, as well as the support the team can offer.

Read more news from UCL Innovation & Enterprise