Visioning with and for Undergraduates

Working with students to co-design a vision for a set of revolutionary new undergraduate programmes.

CLIENT

Edinburgh Futures Institute, University of Edinburgh

YEAR

2019

DELIVERABLE

Vision, Insights and Recommendations Report

The Challenge

At the time of the engagement, the EFI was in the process of developing its undergraduate programmes. Leadership had a rough sense of what they wanted the programmes to look like and had formulated a series of principles to underpin the programmes. However, at this stage their conversations were focussed on what these principles meant for the programmes in an operational sense — e.g., credit allocations, types of module, and methods of delivery. 

They wanted to build out their vision in collaboration with students, drawing from students’ education experiences, gaining a more rounded idea of what these programmes should look and feel like from a student perspective.

Client Details

The Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) is part of the University of Edinburgh and is developing progressive and non-traditional approaches to higher education. This includes giving students more autonomy over their learning, more choice over whether to study online or on-campus, promoting interdisciplinarity, and working collaboratively with a large range of partners. 

Our Approach

Working with the EFI we recruited students from across the University to engage them across two focussed workshops. These workshops used creative visual and scenario-building techniques to understand:

  • What these students’ experiences of undergraduate education at the University had been so far. Identifying key gaps in provision, as well moments of value.
  • How the students interpreted the ambition of these programmes with a focus on how the programmes’ guiding principles should translate into a student experience.

We synthesised the information collected from the students into two key outputs:

  • A Vision
    The vision spoke to each principle outlining how each should translate into the student experience. It was captured in a visual illustration which was converted into content for posters, slide decks, and social media.

An Insight and Recommendations Report

The report outlined the main learnings from the workshops. It spoke to students’ interpretation of the principles, the issues they associated with each principle, and ideas for how these principles could translate into learning content, structure, delivery and other aspects of the student experience as well as other strategic recommendations.

Results

1

A New Perspective

The outputs from the project helped those developing the programmes to build an undergraduate programme vision informed by more diverse perspectives and shaped by representatives of the community that the vision itself will impact. 

2

Building excitement

After the project the EFI presented their plans for the undergraduate programmes to academics from across the University to invite them to help develop content. The vision was used to help build excitement while ensuring that staff were aligned and working towards a common goal.


3

Informed decision-making

The insights and recommendations in the final report directly affected key decisions around the course content, structure, and modes of delivery. 

“It was a real pleasure working with such an engaging and professional team. They clearly understood what we were after and the whole process was easy and enjoyable. All outcomes were beautifully designed and are very useful for us.”

Sabine Rolle
Undergraduate Programmes Lead, Edinburgh Futures Institute