What’s in a name? Maybe you need MaPS?

A couple of people have commented that the acronym ‘SPaM’ may not go down well in some circles. However, the structure of the acronym is purposeful and as such I am intending to keep it in this format.

Whilst the three domains should be considered equally the reality is that nearly all of the course design or curriculum development activities I have been involved with, either as a course director or as an educational developer, have almost always started with a discussion about “what” is going to be in the course, i.e. the “subject knowledge”.

That’s not to say that “content is king” – subject knowledge is more than just content, but it is very often the starting point for the curriculum design process and strongly informs learning outcomes and structure of programmes. For this reason ‘S’ for Subject is the first letter in the acronym.

Additionally both Subject & Pedagogy are already established elements of the TPACK framework (although ‘subject’ is referred to as Content Knowledge) so it makes sense to have these as the first two letters whilst the domain which I have added into the framework is Modality (hence having ‘M’ at the end of the acronym).

However, I wouldn’t want an acronym to stand in the way of a useful framework being used and so on the rare occasion where someone may object to SPaM then please feel free to use the alternative – MaPS.

We have lift off…………………..

Over the past few days/weeks I’ve been consolidating my thinking on a framework for Hybrid Education. You may be asking why we need a framework, after all stuff still happens with or without the framework.

Since 2014 I have been making use of the TPACK framework as part of my research into academic staff experiences of digital skills development. If you have read the Introduction section of this site you will have already noted that TPACK is the basis for the SPaM framework also.

During this research a number of benefits arose from having a framework to support the digital skills development of academic staff and these same benefits apply to this framework in a similar context. Those benefits include:

  • A single reference point for joining up discussions and sharing experiences across (and beyond) and organisation.
  • Identification of the key domains necessary for any successful hybrid/blended programme.
  • Recognition of the way in which these domains influence and are affected by each other.
  • A framework through which to guide curriculum design in the context of blended courses.
  • A framework through which to identify and plan staff development needs in relation to academic development.
  • To be adapted for both staff and student facing needs so as to connect students with the curriculum design process and make it more visible to them.
  • To support course/programme approval and re-approval activity by having three core areas for discussion.
  • A framework that encourages collaboration and holistic development by identifying what different experts bring to the curriculum design table.
  • Supporting a high quality student experience by ensuring that the key considerations of their learning experience are identified.
  • A framework which helps to connect the “what” (subject materials) with the “why” (pedagogy and modality). The “how” sits somewhere amongst all three domains and is heavily influenced by the “what”.

The list is not exhaustive and is drawn from interview data of participants with regards to their experience of TPACK. Additionally one of the key messages from this data is that the simplicity of the framework is it’s strength and as such SPaM does not seek to extend the TPACK framework beyond it’s original three core domains, but seeks to adapt it in such a way as to make it more suitable for use in a world of hybrid education.

Please do take a look at the framework introduction to start with and feel free to get in touch with any further suggestions or considerations via the contact form.