Case Study 4 - Enhancing academic relationships with partner colleges assuring quality standards across national and international module delivery

Davis, Katherine

Impact Summary

Poor communication between the University and partner colleges was shown to be a significant factor in poor student achievement. Training and mentoring staff from partner colleges to assure shared understanding of learning outcomes and quality processes has changed a ‘failing’ module (BB1754) to a very successful module with 98% achievement within two years (BB1754 in 2009, 18.7% achieved an A grade, in 2010, 69.5% achieved an A grade). The methodology can be applied to different modules as similar success has been recorded for BB2116 and BH5004. On BB2116 in 2009 96% of students passed the module. BH5004 Consultancy in Practice - overall MEQ module score 4.59. Flexibility within the curriculum gives lecturers the option to use different sources for examples to tailor their delivery to their own students resulting in an increase engagement and retention of students particularly in partner colleges. Publication of a dedicated textbook with all resources and teaching activities gives students a clear direction, managed their expectations and allowed them to become more independent learners. The University has enjoyed a strong, academic relationship with Mumbai College helping to underline University commitment to increase BAME participation in their high-quality undergraduate modules.

Key Achievements

  1. Changed the approach used to deliver University modules at partner colleges from ‘remote’ to ‘supportive’
  2. Standardised teaching, learning and assessment through establishing communication channels training and mentorship for lecturers in four partner colleges
  3. Increased engagement for a diverse body of students through collated dedicated resources in an online publication that reduced anxiety and furthered enjoyment as opposed to boredom
  4. Significant improvement of student achievement and retention for all partner colleges and the University that has been sustained over a period of years
  5. Assured assessment consistency between colleges that met University quality standards
  6. Maintained relationship with Mumbai college for over 5 years

Key Aims

The key aims of this work were to: • Create a professional academic relationship between module leaders from four partner colleges and the University • Motivate staff to deliver modules they had not designed • Improve student retention and achievement • Drive the quality standards to meet those required by Kingston University


I ensured excellent communication channels were made with partner colleges teaching teams to address the ‘failing module’. Used face to face and online regular meetings with staff from individual colleges and joint meetings to share difficulties and success. Delivered the same training to all staff teaching the module for a consistent approach using online meetings, message boards, chat functions to quickly respond to queries. Reviewed curriculum content after collaboration with partner college staff to ensure its relevance for all students that also inspired and motivated lecturers. Collate and publish relevant source materials in a module specific textbook which was online and free for students. Use an open and transparent assessment strategy that relied on computer marking, but was tested by assessors to gain their confidence in the assessment method to effectively demonstrate that students had achieved the learning outcomes.

Key Outcomes

Established a quality process that produced comparable assessment decisions between partner colleges and the University and hence consistent outcomes. The approach and process can be applied to any module. Staff who deliver and assess the modules feel valued and consequently actively participate in constructive feedback that drives up quality standards and strengthens the relationship between partner colleges and the University. Clear changes in the confidence and motivation of teaching staff especially with their own ability to deliver the module effectively for their own student group. Their success can be measured in terms of recruitment to an option module which improved from, for example, on BB2116, 15 students to 625 in two years. Students from partner colleges were confident that the modules they had passed were of national University standard and acceptable to different institutions where they might want to continue their education. Research into the source materials for a module and producing a free online focussed and relevant collated text helps both staff to deliver the module and promotes student learning. A resource of 600 multiple choice questions was created that could randomly generate an examination which was consistent, without bias and effectively tested the learning outcomes of students on multiple occasions. I have changed the approach used to deliver University modules at partner colleges demonstrating that staff training and regular constructive communication are key to successful delivery. I have changed the learning strategy for students from one that was expensive and demanding in terms of time to one that motivates, reduces anxiety and furthers enjoyment as opposed to boredom. This has resulted in consistent and higher achievement of module success.

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