Aiming to embed research-based education across the university, through our Connected Curriculum framework.
We want to create a culture of ‘research-based’ education, rather than the more traditional 'research-led' teaching and learning.
The education we offer our students reflects, and is inspired by, UCL's extraordinary wealth of research which focuses on issues that affect our world, such as UCL Grand Challenges. But despite pockets of excellence, our National Student Survey (NSS) results show that we can do more to enhance the student learning experience by bringing research and teaching together in a more meaningful way.
Experience of research is not only a stepping-stone to academia, the skills involved in research and enquiry are increasingly integral to careers in many different industries. Research-based education is therefore an important element of our support for the career preparation of our graduates.
The Connected Curriculum provides a framework for the integration of the various strands of activity across UCL that enrich the formal curriculum.
These include enterprise and knowledge transfer and the Global Citizenship Programme, which provides opportunities for students to collaborate across disciplines and work directly with local charities and organisations to apply their learning.
We will continue to ensure that students have regular opportunities to present their work and to apply their theoretical learning in practical contexts.
Our priorities for objective two
1. Ensure principles of the Connected Curriculum are embedded in our systems and processes
A review of our regulations, governance structure, programme approval systems and quality assurance processes to ensure that they reflect the principles of the Connected Curriculum and incentivise and support staff to redevelop taught programmes
- A programme-level design workshop to support the development of all new degree programmes was created by Arena Centre, Academic Services and Digital Education which complements the programme approval framework and processes that were refined in 2017-18 (2019)
- 2018-19 regulations approved in principle by Education Committee; governance has been put in place to support regulations, programme and quality assurance improvements; the processes of the Programme and Module Approval Panel have been improved to reflect the Connected Curriculum. (January 2018)
- New Internal Quality Review and Student Reviewer processes were launched for 17-18 (September 2017)
2. Provide more support to UCL staff through UCL Arena
The continued expansion of the UCL Arena programme to provide support, guidance and inspiration for staff as they review and revise their curricula to reflect the Connected Curriculum principles and the development of benchmarking and guidance resources to support staff as they make ‘research-based’ education the core principle of their teaching and programme design.
- 20 staff members, nominated by Deans, formed the first cohort of the Leading Change in Education programme, developed and delivered with support from Utrecht University (2019)
- To encourage more Programme Leaders to attend Arena events, bespoke workshops were further developed and a handbook for Programme Leaders is in production (2019)
- Number of UCL staff gaining teaching qualifications through UCL Arena rose steadily (March 2019)
- The support the UCL Arena Centre for Research-based Education can provide UCL staff was clarified and published. (April 2018)
- Follow-up meetings between each department and the Arena Centre are about to commence regarding benchmarking of their progress towards embodying the Connected Curriculum principles. (March 2018)
3. Develop the Teaching and Learning Portal as a resource hub
The development of the teaching and learning portal as a resource hub for information about the Connected Curriculum and the impact it can have on the student experience, in particular by celebrating the considerable good practice already in evidence across the university.
- Teaching toolkits relaunched in a user-friendly format (October 2019)
- We launched a more user-friendly events calendar, to improve promotion and track engagement with Arena events (2019)
- The updated and revised Connected Curriculum web pages were published in August 2018.
4. Ensure a more diverse curriculum
To use Connected Curriculum frameworks to support the implementation of the ‘liberating the curriculum’ activities which have been developed collaboratively by staff and students to put black, queer, disabled, and feminist contributions and critiques on an equal footing in the curriculum.
Student Curriculum Partners scheme was piloted with two faculties (Brain Sciences and Engineering) in the 2018/19. Part of the Student Quality Reviewers programme, Student Curriculum Partners play a role in enhancing the inclusivity of the curriculum, particularly in relation to race and ethnicity, reviewing curriculum materials and sharing their findings with staff.
- UCL Inclusive Curriculum Healthcheck is now available for staff to review their programmes (April 2018)
5. Make direct links between research and teaching in promotion criteria
To use the review of academic promotion and reward criteria and processes to embed further the link between research and teaching as an institutional principle.
- 2017-18 promotions announced: six Professorial Teaching Fellows appointed through new Academic Career Framework (July 2018)
- The new Academic Career Framework has been approved and disseminated to all staff (January 2018)
6. The six dimensions of the Connected Curriculum will be reflected in all programmes at UCL
We will have reviewed all our programmes to ensure that they reflect the six dimensions of the Connected Curriculum.
- Pioneering ABC Curriculum Design helps more than 75 modules across UCL - an approach, designed by Digital Education, that helps teaching staff plan or review programmes and incorporate the Connected Curriculum. (July 2018)
- ASER benchmarking of all programmes against the dimensions of the Connected Curriculum was completed in November 2017.
7. Provide a digital platform for staff and students to showcase their work
A technical infrastructure to support a Connected Curriculum virtual learning environment will be in place, providing the opportunity for staff and students to publish outputs and showcase their work. This is also highlighted in objective seven: Enriching digital learning.
- Update to follow.