View from the programme level

york minster

I spent two days last week at an all programme meeting for the HE Academy pathfinders programme in York- can’t resist including a view of York Minster which I took from my window!  All 28 pathfinder projects we present, along with the critical friends (as I’ve mentioned before I am the critical friend for cluster c) and some representatives from the initial benchmarking projects.


It’s difficult to describe in a short post the rich variety of approaches the projects are adopting, but I am including some images of the different frameworks the projects are using here to give a flavour.  

It was a very interesting meeting and great to get an overview of the different projects. What struck me was the diversity of the different ways in which the projects are tackling the issue of embedding e-learning in their institutions. 


However it was also evident that there were some interesting overarching themes. The projects finish in May and so are now beginning to look at ways in which the lessons learnt can be disseminated. Here are some highlights I picked up from the meeting. 



Derek Morrison open with seven reflection points (;-) associated with the programme:

pathfinder2Strategy, Security, Synthesis, Support, Synergies, Sharing, Student and Sustainability. Then each of the 7 clusters gave quick overviews of the approaches they had adopted – at an individual project level and at the cluster level. The clusters, critical friends and projects are:

Cluster A – (Paul Bacsich) Bradford, Brighton, Greenwich, Thames Valley University

Cluster B – (Cliff Wragg) Bournemouth, Gloucestershire, Keele, Uni College Plymouth

Cluster C – (Gráinne Conole), Brunel, Cambridge, London South Bank, Reading

cluster f

Cluster D – (Terry Mayes) De Montfort, Edge Hill, Manchester Metropolitan, University of Central Lancashire

Cluster E (Peter Chatterton) Derby, East London, Sunderland, Teeside

Cluster F (Betty Collis) Canterbury Christ Church, Exeter, Kingston, Wolverhampton

Cluster G (Andrew Comrie) Bradford College, Buckingham, Cumbria Institute of the Arts, Northampton.

Below is a very crude summary, picking out some of the key themes mentioned, which gives a flavour of what each cluster was focusing on – should have really done a tag cloud for this! No major surprises here I guess (although I think we were all quite taken by the digital storytelling approach adopted by Gloustershire), but the devil is in the detail – it’s interesting to see the very different approaches each of the projects have taken to addressing the issues.

  • Assessment,
  • change – cultural and other,
  • developing e-activities,
  • digital storytelling,
  • e-learning champions and broker roles
  • eResources,
  • evaluation
  • evidence-based practice
  • ICT skills set
  • institutional elearning strategy
  • linking the VLE with other systems,
  • practice vs. strategy
  • staff support and development,
  • student experience,
  • Sustainability and dissemination,
  • sustainability,
  • transitions,
  • teaching and learning
  • quality assurance and enhancement.

The pilot projects have already produced a series of interesting briefing papers summarising their experiences. A similar set of papers is planned for these projects too. Further information is available from the HE Academy pathfinder blog and associated wiki. The briefing papers are listed in the right hand column of the blog.


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