The Alt-C conference (8-10 September 2009 at Manchester University) proved to be an excellent opportunity both to reflect on where the PALET project is currently, and to develop ideas and explore new themes relevant to the project. In particular, it served as a timely reminder that the project needs to engage more fully with the ways in which new curricula are actually designed. The challenge remains to find ways through which the full range of internal stakeholders can properly engage with these issues, and ensure that the redesigned process fully captures the discussions and decisions that appear to now take place outside of the current approval process.
Overall the conference was both useful and informative; it included some great keynotes, and parallel sessions that inevitably ranged in quality, a number of which demonstrated the unfortunate consequences that arise from implementation of projects that have not fully engaged different stakeholder groups. The PALET project itself was involved in two presentations, one led by the JISC Advisory Services team, which introduced attendees to the web-based "Design Studio", as well as to the projects themselves. The other, "Herding Cats? Engaging stakeholders in complex institutional change projects", was delivered by the projects in our cluster, led by Prof. Stephen Brown, critical friend to the cluster. Judging by the feedback we received this proved to be a very successful session, participants being invited to discuss a series of "top tips" for stakeholder involvement that have been identified by the projects on their experiences to date. Short video clips from the session are below:
Overall, it was really useful and valuable to catch up with colleagues working in the cluster, as well as with staff from other projects and from the JISC. In fact, it was in some ways more like a "programme meeting", albeit one that had the added benefit of a whole range of contributions from other participants at the conference. It also demonstrated how far the cluster has developed as an identifiable "community of practice". I really hope we can continue to positively support each other as we move forward, the next Camel meeting being in Cardiff next month. I just hope everyone remembers to bring their brollies. And BTW, it rained in Manchester as well "plus ca change,
plus c’est la meme chose".