Approaches to Blended CPD Short Courses Development

Dr Linda Lefievre, Deputy Director of Education for Digital and Distance learning for the College of Medical and Dental Sciences, talks about how to develop online blended delivery of short courses such as Continuing Professional Development (CPD) using available HEFi Digital University tools or other platforms such as FutureLearn in collaboration with Educational Enterprise.

Since March 2020, due to Covid-19, most of the events involving external participants to the University such as conferences and CPD short courses have been halted.  Thanks to a collaboration between HEFi, IT and Conferences and Events we have in the College of Medical and Dental Sciences developed an online alternative to the face to face CPD using the HEFi digital core tools for asynchronous and Zoom for synchronous teaching. 

This new online blended alternative delivery for CPD provides several advantages to both academics and students. Key lectures can be recorded in advance and stored in the CPD canvas template, which was designed by MDS HEFi team, allowing academics and students to use of all the pedagogic tools available on CANVAS.  Having those resources available on CANVAS removes the pressure on the experts to deliver their material at a specific time.  For students it provides flexibility as they can engage with the material in advance, CANVAS should be made available at least 2 weeks ahead of the interactive synchronous sessions.  This will not only save them having to take some time off work but reduce the cost of travelling and accommodation and will lead to more enriched and engaging discussions during the live sessions.  Timing of those synchronous sessions could also fit with your audience by offering synchronous sessions in the evenings or at other times that would suit a more international audience, as required.  As those live sessions can be recorded and uploaded into Panopto, this provides an additional advantage for those students who want to learn at their own pace, as distance learners, and use the advantage of the discussion boards to submit their questions and get feedback.  Therefore, thinking of keeping the course open and monitoring the discussion boards for another few weeks after the live sessions would be good practice.

Quotes from CPD FRCPath Haemostasis and Thrombosis

“Really appreciated being able to access the course remotely”
“Interactive live sessions very useful and informative”
“Excellent course, a brilliant resource”
“From my perspective as a Biomedical Scientist, this was an excellent course to further my understanding of haemostasis and thrombosis in both a laboratory and clinical setting, making me more aware of the greater picture”

 

In recognition that not all schools run CPD courses this could be used in other contexts to make use of the institutional digital tools available to host internal or external learning activities.

There are different ways to design short courses and if you are interested in developing a fully online distance learning short course/ CPD course, the Educational Enterprise team would be happy to support you in identifying markets and opportunities.

With the launch of the Postgraduate Microcredential and Short Course Framework in 2021, the process to submit any new CPD proposals has changed slightly. All short courses will need to be submitted using the Short Course and Microcredential Approval in Principal form. Colleges must sign off submission and costing prior final approval by the University’s Short Course and Microcredential Steering Group. More details about the process could be found in the Short Courses Intranet page

FURTHER RESOURCES

Educational Enterprise link:
Educational Enterprise (birmingham.ac.uk)

Educational Enterprise Short Courses link:
Short Courses (birmingham.ac.uk)

Short Course and Microcredential Framework link:
Postgraduate Microcredential and Short Course Framework (birmingham.ac.uk)

FutureLearn link:
FutureLearn: Online Courses and Degrees from Top Universities