On-Line Course Delivery in a Disperse Environment
The BA in Child and Youth Studies (BACYS) was the first UHI degree designed specifically for full on line delivery and is the template on which subsequent degree developments have been based. The degree has now been running for several years and student numbers have reached just over 300 across the four years of study, with students living in a very wide geographic area within and out with the Highlands and Islands. The Honours level of the programme ran for the first time in academic year 2007-8, adding further opportunities for students, staff and the communities served.
The BACYS degree is however by no means considered as ‘the finished article’ and is constantly changing in response to student feedback, course team self evaluations and the changes within UHI. The challenges of delivering and managing a networked programme are a core part of the enhancements ongoing. Whether this is systems, administration, module development, learning, teaching and assessment strategy, or emerging opportunities for enhancement through new IT developments, the focus remains on ensuring a high quality student centred learning experience which is accessible to students regardless of physical location.
This is a challenging and demanding mode of delivery, but very lively and rewarding to be engaged with. The Work with IT project provides an opportunity to take a snapshot of reflections offered by a cross section of those involved with the programme, and to provide a source for internal institutional reflection as well as contributing to the wider academic community discussion and debate.