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Case Studies of SEDA-PDF in Practice

PDF at the University of Lancaster
Lancaster has adopted SEDA-PDF as a key part of the institutional framework for initial and continuing professional development. 

We wanted to provide flexibility in how different members of staff could engage with professional development that was supportive of their identified development priorities.  As part of this, using the SEDA-PDF allowed us to explore different ways of doing this.

  1. SEDA awards related to existing programmes – we used the SEDA award learning outcomes as a heuristic for reflecting on our existing provision in terms of University accredited programmes.  This involved the Learning, Teaching and Assessing and the Supporting Learning awards.
  2. Developing independent routes, with tutor support, to demonstrating the award learning outcomes – this responded to a desire to provide staff with a way to recognize work that they were engaged in as part of their teaching role, as well as providing a more rigorous framework within which to undertake that work e.g. project work or curriculum change (EAP award).
  3. Providing a route for staff to be recognized for engaging in and implementing ideas from what would otherwise be a series of free-standing workshops on a theme e.g. e-learning or postgraduate supervision (ELT and EPS awards)
One of the valuable parts of the process was the SEDA requirement for institutional recognition.  This meant that we needed to look at and understand the institutional context within which we are operating more explicitly than might otherwise have been the case.  It also provided another forum in which to engage senior management of the University in conversations about the institutional approach to such professional development.

We found it extremely helpful to use the SEDA awards for creating more modules for the Postgraduate Diploma in Academic Practice.  The process was valuable as in satisfying the requirements for SEDA one had to think carefully and reflect about the provision in a rigorous way.  This meant that satisfying a course approvals committee and mapping the relevant programmes onto the UK PSF were then much more easily accomplished.

One of the really valuable things about the process of creating the SEDA awards was the feedback from mentors.  As they are colleagues from outside the institution, they might ask questions or suggest things that one wouldn’t have thought of because of being in a particular context.

As can be seen from the above the SEDA-PDF itself is a very flexible process which can support a team and/or institution in the development of their portfolio of provision for initial and continuing professional development of staff.

A Course Leader’s reflections and perceived benefits on the SEDA Programme Review Process, Shrinika Weerakoon, Staff Development Centre, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

SEDA’s support to complete the course review process successfully was very helpful and ranged from their informative website, explicit assessment criteria to a reminder email on the expiry status of SEDA accreditation for the two courses (viz., CTHE and ASTHE) with an inquiry on the likelihood of the accreditation renewal. The constructive and development-oriented approach of the SEDA reviewer, Dr David Baume, helped to generate confidence in me by showcasing that the process would help me to improve the courses in the future, through reflection. Because these courses were not from UK, I felt that Dr Baume’s experience and knowledge on educational development, and on my Centre (viz., SDC), were beneficial. Steps in the document preparation process made me confident to face the review interview and I clearly felt the benefit of presenting thoroughly prepared documentation.

The result of undergoing the review was to give me a deeper insight into the course-rationale. The review process made me study in detail the elements of the courses and their underlying principles which I may not have done in as great a depth otherwise.

Although the periodic review was beneficial to reflectively evaluate and develop the courses as well as to externally validate the standards maintained by our courses, the SEDA review was an enormous self-imposed pressure on me as I did not want to fail the review and lose the recognition which the former course leader and SDC Director Professor Suki Ekaratne (now in University of Bath) had maintained for 10 years. The pressure was very high as I knew that losing the recognition would greatly demotivate course participants who input a massive effort which results in enhancing quality of learning and teaching nationally in Sri Lanka. Looking back, I realize that marshalling varied resources helped to assuage this pressure and to prepare the needed documentation for a successful Review.

I realized that the most helpful aspects that enabled me to successfully complete the review were the highly reflective nature in course delivery and our courses having benchmarked closely with the Outcomes and Values that SEDA required the courses to address. I realized that it was the breadth of these SEDA requirements that allowed us to continually adapt them to our changing contexts as evidenced by the continuous revisions of the course handbooks done by Professor Ekaratne and which provided clear evidence how the course had responded to External Examiner comments, changing higher education and staff-student needs nationally. The audit reports of international educational developers reinforced my evidence to show how these courses had been run in an exemplary and developmental manner. Having gone through the review process, I feel that course leaders handling relatively new courses and which lack the wherewithal to trace a developmental backdrop may experience some difficulty in successfully completing the SEDA review process, as there are different developmental areas that need to be genuinely addressed in the Review. Unless course/s are aligned to SEDA requirements from the start as a planned approach, or have become so developmentally, courses may not relate to SEDA outcomes in a deeply aligned manner, and I believe it takes considerable reflection and introspection to be able to bring these rewarding outcomes to be espoused in the delivery of a course, that would enable a course to take them beyond the mere act of documenting them.

Therefore, I would not hesitate to recommend SEDA recognize/review process as one that would bring about a considerable developmental benefit to every course leader or to do it again myself.

CTHE and ASTHE are staff development courses that have been SEDA-accredited and offered by the Staff Development Centre (SDC) University of Colombo over the last 10 years for junior and senior academic staff, respectively, from all Sri Lankan universities.

PDF at the University of Central Lancashire
SEDA-PDF has provided a flexible framework for professional development programmes at UCLan. The Professional Development Framework was originally adopted for two postgraduate certificate programmes which targeted firstly academic staff who would be supporting research degree students at the institution and secondly those staff new to HE or the institution who were therefore expectedto gain accreditation and support for their teaching learning and assessment activity. The latter programme subsequently gained dual external status through SEDA and the ILT, the outcomes were very complementary. The foundation element of the latter PG Cert programme, called the HE Teaching Toolkit, was accessible to any and all staff supporting learning in any shape or form. Hence the SEDA-PDF award Supporting Learning was adopted for the front line professional development programme for new lecturers, technical and learning support staff, part-timers, research students who taught, and even people in administrative roles. This meant the university was able to benefit from 3 awards from the SEDA-PDF range.

The institution now houses a further 2 PG cert programmes. One of which has been informed by but has not yet been recognised for Exploring Learning Technologies. The other, a new award for those supporting and guiding students, became the inspiration for SEDA to devise a new award in Student Support & Guidance. Not only has SEDA-PDF a wide range of valuable awards to meet very diverse staff development needs at key points in their career, it is also responsive to new developments and priorities in institutions.The key requirement being that programmes share a commitment to SEDA values and SEDA core learning outcomes and are addressing the continuous professional development of employees across the board.

PDF at the University of Hertfordshire
The University of Hertfordshire (UH) runs a three day workshop which attracts a wide range of participants from across the University. While most are new lecturing staff including growing numbers of hourly paid lecturers, there are many from other areas of the University who provide essential learning support. Locally the workshop is repeated three times a year with something like one hundred participants. Associate Colleges linked to UH also make use of the workshop and in 2005 in excess of one hundred participants in Malaysia and Greece have attended. The workshop is recognised through SEDA-PDF named award Supporting Learning. UH will continue to add other provision within SEDA-PDF.

PDF at the University of Leicester
Leicester has adopted SEDA-PDF as the preferred format for its Developing Professional Practice programmes. These have been targeted, trialled and run successfully for support, technical and young research staff across the Institution, and a sister programme developed and successfully piloted to some acclaim with the University and Colleges network of 24 local Colleges (the DPP in post-compulsory education stream). In 2005, following the success of Leicester Medical Schools' FDTL-funded leadership development programme Developing Leaders in Health and Social Care Education, the University sought accreditation under the PDF Leadership Award to give appropriate recognition to participants completing the programme. Leicester has now also developed, for accreditation, a research module Enhancing Research Practice as part of its Post-Graduate Certificate/Diploma in Academic Practice.As reported in earlier SEDA specials, Leicester sees the SEDA-PDF framework as pivotal to its commitment to a balanced CPD portfolio-ensuring that high quality initial and continuing professional development of appropriate form and content is available to all.

PDF at the University of Ulster
The SEDA-PDF has provided an opportunity for the University of Ulster to develop an inclusive and flexible provision of initial and continuing professional development for all staff who are engaged in supporting the student experience. Engagement with SEDA-PDF has proved positive in enabling a wide range of staff to address their development needs and to gain recognition for their professional practice.

The University of Ulster currently has seven modules recognised by the SEDA-PDF. The modules include: Learning, Teaching and Assessment in Higher Education (Supporting Learning); The Pedagogy of E-Learning (Exploring Learning Technologies); e-Pedagogy: From Design to Delivery (Embedding Learning Technologies); Enhancing Research Practice (Enhancing Research Practice); Supporting the Student Experience (Student Support and Guidance); Leadership in Higher Education (Developing Leaders) and Effective Research Supervision (Supervising Postgraduate Research) and are mapped onto the SEDA-PDF awards listed in brackets. All modules are 20 credits and are assessed at master’s level. In addition, to being available as stand alone awards the modules are also components of the institution’s post-graduate programme in Higher Education Practice which is accredited by the Higher Education Academy. 

It is envisaged that this joint approach to recognition will continue as it maximises the opportunities for staff to acquire recognition for their engagement in Professional Standards and SEDA values. 

PDF at the University of Keele
Like many institutions, we had an induction Teaching and Learning programme accredited by SEDA in the 1990s, and this continues for our programmes now recognized for the PDF in Supporting Learning and in Teaching, Learning and Assessment, which are also accredited by the HE Academy. The development of the wide range of PDF awards has been most helpful since 2000. Our second postgraduate certificate programme, Teaching and Learning with Technology, was recognized for the PDF in Embedding Learning Technologies as soon as it was available. Later, to add flexibility for staff who were able to commit less time, we had a half-size version of the course recognized for the PDF in eXploring Learning Technologies. We recently had our programme for contract research staff recognized for the PDF award in Enhancing Research Practice. We ran a pilot programme for external examiners that was recognized for the PDF award in External Examining, and we hope to make that a regular event. We are currently in the process of having a module in Action Research accredited for the PDF award of the same name.

Why have we used the PDF? With the growth of our provision of initial and continuing professional development, there was a danger of uncoordinated developments for disparate groups around the university. Using the PDF awards gives the programmes  a common requirement for shared values and shared reflection on professional development. Secondly, as the relevant PDF awards have been mapped onto the UK Professional Standards Framework for Teaching and Supporting Learning in Higher Education, we are confident that we are compliant with national standards. Thirdly, and most practically, the recognition process has always been a positive, developmental experience, that has helped improve our programmes, with the SEDA recognizers and mentors being collegially supportive and yet critical friends. Great value.
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